Thursday, Sept. 15, 2011 | 5:09 p.m.
Republicans are blaming a mistake by their legal secretary for accidentally filing the wrong expert report this week in the redistricting lawsuit.
The mistaken report matched identically the expert report filed by a coalition of Latino business people who have intervened in the case that will decide how Nevada’s congressional and legislative district lines are redrawn.
Mark Hutchison, lawyer for the Nevada Republican Party, said his secretary mistakenly filed the expert report written by Doug Johnson of the California firm National Demographics Corp.
“She just had it on her computer and she filed the wrong report,” Hutchison said.
The exact same report was filed by Alex Garza, who represents Hispanics for Fair Representation, a group that has intervened in the lawsuit to support the creation of a majority-minority congressional district. Republicans also support a majority-minority district, which Democrats oppose.
Garza said his group is made up of Democrats and Republicans and isn’t affiliated with the Nevada Republican Party
But he said the coalition is represented pro bono by a lawyer, Dan Stewart, who also does work for the Nevada Republican Party.
“We piggy-backed off of Dan Stewart,” Garza said when asked why he is using the same expert as the Nevada Republican Party. “We are not politicians, none of us are. We didn’t understand the correct process, so we reached out to Dan Stewart who helped us push this through the process.”
Garza said his coalition is not paying any legal or expert fees.
Hutchison said Republicans are not sharing the expert witness with Garza’s group. He added the mistake by his office was brought to his attention today. The court document submitting the mistaken report was signed by his associate Jacob Reynolds.
Hutchison filed the correct expert report today from Thomas Brunell, a political scientist from the University of Texas at Dallas.