Mark Brnovich

Last updated

Mark Brnovich
Mark Brnovich by Gage Skidmore.jpg
26th Attorney General of Arizona
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Governor Doug Ducey
Preceded by Tom Horne
Personal details
Born (1966-11-25) November 25, 1966 (age 52)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Susan Skibba
Children2
Education Arizona State University (BA)
University of San Diego (JD)
Website Official website

Mark Brnovich (born November 25, 1966) is an American lawyer and politician from the state of Arizona who currently serves as the 26th Attorney General of Arizona. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected to the office on November 5, 2014, defeating Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini. Brnovich advanced from the August 28, 2018 Republican primary as the top vote-getter in the state, running unopposed. Brnovich's family is originally from Montenegro. On November 6, 2018, Brnovich defeated Democrat January Contreras to be elected to a second term as attorney general. Brnovich is married to Susan Brnovich, a former Maricopa County Superior Court Judge who was nominated by President Trump in January 2018 [1] and confirmed by the United States Senate as a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Arizona in October 2018. [2]

Arizona state of the United States of America

Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.

Republican Party (United States) Major political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Montenegro Republic in Southeastern Europe

Montenegro is a country in Southeast Europe on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Bosnia and Herzegovina to the northwest; Serbia and Kosovo to the east, Albania to the south and Croatia to the west. Montenegro has an area of 13,812 square kilometres and a population of 620,079. Its capital Podgorica is one of the twenty-three municipalities in the country. Cetinje is designated as the Old Royal Capital.

Contents

Early life and education

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Brnovich moved to Arizona at the age of two. Brnovich's mother was born in the former Yugoslavia and legally emigrated to the United States. [3] He often notes that his mother emigrated to the United States to flee communism. [4] He is Eastern Orthodox and is of Montenegrin descent. [5] [6]

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church,, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 200–260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods, although roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Montenegrins, literally "People of the Black Mountain", are a nation and South Slavic ethnic group native to Montenegro.

Brnovich received a bachelor's degree in political science from Arizona State University and his juris doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law. [7] While at Arizona State, Brnovich was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity. [8]

A bachelor's degree or baccalaureate is an undergraduate academic degree awarded by colleges and universities upon completion of a course of study lasting three to seven years. In some institutions and educational systems, some bachelor's degrees can only be taken as graduate or postgraduate degrees after a first degree has been completed. In countries with qualifications frameworks, bachelor's degrees are normally one of the major levels in the framework, although some qualifications titled bachelor's degrees may be at other levels and some qualifications with non-bachelor's titles may be classified as bachelor's degrees.

Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics works."

Arizona State University Public university located in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Arizona, United States

Arizona State University is a public metropolitan research university on five campuses across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and four regional learning centers throughout Arizona.

Early career

Brnovich served his country as a member of the Army National Guard, has worked as the Director of the Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute, briefly for the Corrections Corporation of America, served as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, a prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, and Assistant Attorney General of Arizona. [7] [9] [10] He was appointed the director of the Arizona Department of Gaming in 2009. He served in the role through 2013, when he resigned to run for Attorney General of Arizona in the 2014 election. [7] He defeated incumbent Tom Horne in the August Republican Party primary election [11] and Felecia Rotellini in the general election. [12]

Army National Guard militia force and reserve force that is part of the Militia of the United States, the National Guard of the United States and the United States Army

The Army National Guard (ARNG), in conjunction with the Air National Guard, is a militia force and a federal military reserve force of the United States. They are simultaneously part of two different organizations, the Army National Guard of the several states, territories and the District of Columbia, and the Army National Guard of the United States, part of the United States National Guard. The Army National Guard is divided into subordinate units stationed in each of the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia, and operates under their respective governors.

Goldwater Institute conservative and libertarian public policy think tank

The Goldwater Institute is a conservative and libertarian public policy think tank located in Phoenix, Arizona whose stated mission is "to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all fifty states". The organization was established in 1988 with the support of former Senator Barry Goldwater.

Arizona Department of Gaming gaming control board in Arizona

The Arizona Department of Gaming (ADG) is a gaming control board in Arizona that provides oversight of the state's gaming industry.

Political career

Brnovich personally argued in defense of the "one-person, one-vote" principle before the United States Supreme Court on December 8, 2015 in the Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission case. [13]

Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 578 U.S. ___ (2016), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that the one person, one vote principle under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment allows a state's redistricting commission slight variances in drawing of legislative districts provided that the variance does not exceed 10 percent.

In May 2017, Brnovich provided the commencement speech for the University of San Diego, his alma mater. Brnovich was one of only two Republican politicians to address graduates at the universities ranked in the top 100 by U.S. News & World Report. [14]

University of San Diego Private university in San Diego, California, United States

The University of San Diego (USD) is a private Roman Catholic research university in San Diego, California. Founded in July 1949 as the San Diego College for Women and San Diego University, the academic institutions merged from the California school system into University of San Diego in 1972. Since then, the university has grown to comprise nine undergraduate and graduate schools, to include the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and School of Law. USD 79 undergraduate and graduate programs, and enrolls approximately 9,073 undergraduate, paralegal, graduate and law students.

Brnovich served as the Chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, a non-partisan organization of Attorneys General from 15 western states, three Pacific territories, and 13 associate member states from 2017-2018. Brnovich chose to focus his Chair's Initiative on cyber security and data privacy. [15]

In August 2017, Brnovich was appointed to a bipartisan working group of state attorneys general titled "Protecting America's Seniors: Attorneys General United Against Elder Abuse." The National Association of Attorneys General presidential initiative was established to focus on strengthening efforts nationwide to combat elder abuse. [16]

In December 2017, Brnovich was recognized by the Arizona Capitol Times as a "Leader of the Year" in the category of Public Safety. In recognizing Brnovich, the Capitol Times stated: "But it's his non-political work in the area of law enforcement and consumer protection and advocacy that is earning Brnovich a lot of praise. In addition to going after fraudsters and scammers, Brnovich has zeroed in on the opioid epidemic, busting suspected opioid rings and in a bold move, charging a major manufacturer of the drug of deceptive practices designed to reap profits at patients' expense." [17]

Notable actions as attorney general

Dismissal of frivolous Americans with Disability Act lawsuits

In August 2016 the Arizona Attorney General's office took action in Maricopa County Superior Court and filed to intervene in over 1,000 lawsuits from an "advocacy" group that flooded courts with "copy and paste" disability access lawsuits targeting mostly small businesses. [18] By intervening, the Attorney General's office made itself a part of the cases and argued that group, "Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities," exceeded their legal authority and that the group was not allowed to collect fees on these types of lawsuits. A judge agreed to allow the Attorney General's office to intervene and consolidated the cases while also preventing Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities from filing new lawsuits in September 2016. [19] In December of that year the office filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuits. A judge granted the Attorney General's office request in February 2017, dismissing over 1,000 of the lawsuits. [20] After the successful action by his office, Brnovich remarked: "Arizona is not going to tolerate serial litigators who try to shake down small hardworking businesses by exploiting the disability community." [21]

Lawsuit against the Arizona Board of Regents over tuition cost

On September 8, 2017, Brnovich sued the Arizona Board of Regents, saying the entity in charge of setting tuition for Arizona universities had "dramatically and unconstitutionally" increased tuition and fees over the last 15 years. In the lawsuit, Brnovich said the Board of Regents had "abandoned its duty to serve as a check on the university presidents" by allowing an "unprecedented series of lockstep tuition hikes" that violates the state's constitutional mandate requiring tuition for in-state students at college to be "as nearly free as possible." [22]

The constitutionality challenge included an additional charge against the Board of Regents for continuing to provide in-state tuition for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient students. A state Court of Appeal previously ruled in June 2017 [23] that DACA students don't have "lawful immigration status" and therefore don't qualify for in-state tuition because of a 2006 voter-approved measure that prohibits in-state tuition and financial aid for undocumented college students. [24]

On April 9, 2018 the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 7-0 decision that state colleges and universities could no longer provide in-state tuition to individuals who were covered under DACA. [25] That same day, the Arizona Board of Regents announced that they would no longer be providing in-state tuition for DACA students in upcoming semesters. [26]

$4.65 million dollar consumer fraud settlement with Theranos, Inc.

In April 2017, Brnovich announced that every Arizonan who had obtained a blood test from Theranos, Inc. between 2013 and 2016 in the state would receive a full refund as a result of a $4.65 million dollar consumer settlement with the Attorney General's Office. [27] Theranos was sued under the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act, including specific allegations that the company's advertisements misrepresented the accuracy and reliability of the more than 1.5 million blood tests sold during that period. [28] Theranos was also banned from owning, operating or directing a lab in Arizona for two years as a result of the settlement. In December 2017, checks were distributed to more than 76,000 Arizonans who received a full refund with an average refund per customer of $60.92. [29]

$6.28 million dollar consumer fraud settlement with General Motors

In March 2018, the state announced that a consumer fraud settlement had been reached with General Motors ("GM") that would pay an additional $6.28 million in payments to Arizona consumers as part of claims related to GM's installation of faulty ignition switches. [30] The settlement impacts 33,000 Arizonans who purchased certain cars between 2009 and 2014. According to Brnovich, Arizona was the first state to obtain restitution directly for consumers as part of a settlement with GM related to faulty ignition switch claims. [31] GM previously settled claims with 49 other states, but Arizona filed their own lawsuit focusing on consumer restitution. Under that lawsuit, Arizona would have received $2 million and they money would not have gone to consumers. [32] [31]

$40 million dollar consumer fraud lawsuit with Volkswagen

In May 2018, Brnovich announced that Volkswagen agreed to settle a consumer fraud lawsuit with the State of Arizona for $40 million dollars over its diesel emissions scandal. The settlement directed $10.5 million to Arizona consumers who had purchased certain Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles for restitution, $20 million to the state's budget to help fund K-12 education, and the remaining money for consumer protection and enforcement purposes. [33] Arizona is the only state to obtain additional restitution on behalf of consumers as a result state enforcement actions. [34]

Lawsuit over in-state tuition for DACA recipients

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled 7-0 on April 9, 2018 that state colleges and universities could no longer provide in-state tuition to individuals who were covered under the DACA program. In doing so, the Court upheld a legal challenge initiated by former Attorney General Tom Horne and continued by Brnovich against the Maricopa County Community College District. The ruling applies to all community colleges and universities within the state. In their decision, the justices upheld a previous 3-0 decision from the Arizona Court of Appeals that said the state hadn't explicitly granted in-state tuition to DACA recipients and that the colleges policy was against Arizona law. [25] Specifically, Proposition 300, a 2006 law passed by Arizona voters with 71.4% of the vote that stipulates state-funded services and benefits such as in-state tuition cannot not be provided to individuals without legal status. [35]

Disability access lawsuits investigations

According to Legal Newsline, Brnovich has targeted scammers to protect small businesses in Arizona. He shut down an unscrupulous attorney named Peter Strojnik who was "filing dubious disability access lawsuits against small businesses." [36] After Brnovich's investigation, Arizona law was changed to ensure those types of scams won’t happen again. [36] According to published reports, the attorney general's office discovered another 9,000 Americans with Disability Act lawsuits Strojnik was preparing to file against Arizona businesses. [37]

Data privacy investigation of Google

On September 11, 2018, The Washington Post reported that Brnovich was investigating Google for its alleged practice of recording consumers' tracking data even after a consumer opted out of the location tracking function. [38]

Lawsuit against Arizona State University and Arizona Board of Regents for hotel land deal

In January of 2019, Attorney General Brnovich filed a lawsuit against Arizona State University (ASU) and the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) over what he alleged was an illegal real estate deal. Brnovich later amended his lawsuit in April of that same year claiming violations of the Arizona Constitution's Gift Clause. [39] The project at hand is a planned Omni Hotel and conference center at the corner of University and Mill, one of the busiest intersections in downtown Tempe. The controversy involves ASU providing a longterm lease of its tax exempt government land to the Omni for the building of a new hotel and conference center with an option to buy the property for $10 after 60 years. The attorney general contends that by removing the property from the tax rolls everyone else in the taxing district (including cities, the county, K-12 schools and community colleges) will be forced to make up the difference in tax collections. He also intends that the practice is illegal because ASU is a government entity and therefore can not "lend" its tax-exempt status to a private corporation. [40] Representatives from ABOR and ASU have defended the practice saying they collect a payment from the hotel in lieu of taxes and that extra money helps the school general much needed revenue. [41]

Electoral history

Arizona Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanMark Brnovich279,85553.74
RepublicanTom Horne (inc.)240,85846.26
Arizona Attorney General Election, 2014
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanMark Brnovich782,36152.91
DemocraticFelecia Rotellini696,05447.07
Write-inAnthony Camboni2650.02
Arizona Attorney General Republican Primary Election, 2018
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanMark Brnovich (unopposed)561,370100.00
Arizona Attorney General Election, 2018
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanMark Brnovich1,201,39851.7
DemocraticJanuary Contreras1,120,72648.3

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References

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  38. "Google's location privacy practices are under investigation in Arizona".
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Legal offices
Preceded by
Tom Horne
Attorney General of Arizona
2015–present
Incumbent