On Thursday, January 11, 2024, the Daily Independent reported that Daniel McCauley, an attorney who represented Mark Finchem in his lawsuit challenging the 2022 Arizona Secretary of State election results, agreed to retire from practicing law for at least one year to resolve a complaint filed against him with the Arizona State Bar.

According to the terms of the agreement, McCauley must suspend his law license for 30 days and change his bar membership status to “retired” for a minimum of one year. While McCauley told the State Bar he has no plans to practice law again, this resolves the complaint arising from his representation of Finchem, the defeated Republican candidate for Secretary of State.

Finchem lost the November 2022 election to Democrat Adrian Fontes by over 120,000 votes according to official results. Despite the large margin of defeat, McCauley filed a lawsuit on Finchem’s behalf alleging issues affecting the outcome, including ballot tabulator malfunctions in Maricopa County causing voting delays and potential uncounted ballots.

However, Judge Melissa Julian, who oversaw the case, noted McCauley failed to provide any evidence linking the machine problems to changing the election outcome. Experts cited by Finchem also claimed 80,000 ballots may have gone uncounted but the judge pointed out Finchem lost by 120,208 votes, more than any potential uncounted ballots. Finchem also withdrew a request to inspect actual ballots, suggesting he recognized claims of misconduct were insufficient.

As part of its investigation, the State Bar determined McCauley admitted lacking sufficient facts or legal basis for several arguments in the case and that some claims were demonstrably false or speculative. Judge Julian ordered Finchem to pay $40,565 in Fontes’ legal fees. She also imposed a separate $7,434 penalty for filing a lawsuit deemed frivolous and not brought in good faith and required McCauley to pay $1,200 to reimburse the State Bar for the costs and expenses of its investigation.

Multiple experienced litigators had also refused to take on Finchem’s case, but McCauley conceded in court he lacked the experience and resources to fully prosecute the action. However, he pursued it anyway, apparently believing his impending retirement made disciplinary action less likely.

 

 

Source: Daily Independent