The last time Bill Risner went to court for a public-records lawsuit he filed on behalf of the Pima County Democratic Party, not only did he and his fellow Democrats win; the attorney also won almost $300,000 from Pima County in legal fees.
Well, it looks like it could happen all over again with a different public records lawsuit Risner filed last year. And if Risner wins, according to state law, Pima County will legally be forced to reimburse him thousands of dollars in legal fees—and that's beyond the money the county has paid for the lawyers they've retained to represent the Board of Supervisors and Pima County Treasurer Beth Ford.
While this lawsuit is a little different, it still goes back to what brought Risner, the Democrats, and the Democrat-led Board of Supervisors to battle in the first place several years ago—the 2006 Regional Transportation Authority election. Risner’s first public records-lawsuit win happened in 2008, when he continued his legal battle with the supes over the election. The result of his and the Democratic Party’s efforts was some much-needed attention to the many problems with the county’s voting procedures.
It was also an attempt, however, to get a closer look at the RTA ballots — Risner and other election-integrity activists felt that based on how the ballots were counted, and other blips that came up in their review, the election could very well have been fixed. Crazy things surfaced — one of which was the fact that an elections department employee admitted he had purchased a crop scanner, which is an effective tool in changing election computer counts. The employee said he never used it during the election and just wanted to see if what he heard was true, and it was never proven he used it during the RTA. The Democrats started putting a lot of public pressure