GOP consultants barred from redistricting only after lack of "privilege," lawsuit finds

Phil Ammann | Saint Peters Blog | 09/06/2013

Florida legislators tried to include political consultants in redrawing congressional districts, but barred only them after they found out the conversations would not be protected in court, reports Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida.

In the transcript, it seems the decision to ban Republican consultants came after lawyers discovered their input would not be considered “privileged.”

In an affidavit by Republican consultant Marc Reichelderfer, there was one meeting, on Dec. 3, 2010, between lawmakers, consultants, attorneys and other individuals involved in redrawing districts. That particular meeting had come under fire from the voting-rights organizations that eventually brought the lawsuit.

According to Reichelderfer, it wasn’t until either January or February 2011, when it was clear that there is no immunity attached to the input, political consultants learned they would not be included in later meetings.

Reichelderfer suggested to lawyers from the League of Women Voters that consultants wanted to be part of the process, but “didn’t want anyone to know what they were saying or doing.”

“I suppose that would be a fair representation,” he responded.

House Speaker Will Weatherford, who led the House Redistricting Committee during the two years it worked on the new political maps, said he did not know of any conversations about privilege. He added that it was possible they took place prior to his taking over as chair.

Sen. Don Gaetz, who was in charge of Senate redistricting efforts, told reporters that even “appearance that the Legislature is not fully willing and able to explain our plans to any court of competent jurisdiction.”

Legal battle over state Senate districts coming to an end

TALLAHASSEE - A contentious battle over Florida state senate districts is coming to an end. read more »

Senate won't appeal redistricting ruling

Clearing the way for elections later this year with a map that could boost Democrats' numbers in the Senate, Republican leaders decided Wednesday not to appeal a Leon County judge's ruling setting districts for the chamber's 40 seats. read more »

Florida Senate won't appeal ruling on new districts

TALLAHASSEE — Senate leaders said Wednesday that they will not appeal last month's court ruling that sided with a voters' coalition in setting new district boundaries. read more »

Florida Legislature won't appeal redistricting ruling

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Legislature is giving up the fight and will not contest a court ruling that redraws all of the state's 40 state senate districts for the 2016 election cycle. read more »

Editorial: Republicans should accept redistricting defeat and drop talk of appeals

For a brief moment last week it appeared the Florida Legislature had come to its senses and was willing to accept a judge's ruling on the boundaries for new state Senate districts. read more »

Renumbering state Senate districts triggers political scramble

TALLAHASSEE — It may sound like a simple process, but the Florida Senate's random renumbering of all its districts statewide Tuesday touched off a series of complicated twists that one key lawmaker said only adds more chaos to a continuing redistricting saga. read more »