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State Bar of Arizona disciplines attorney in Mark Finchem election lawsuit

The State Bar of Arizona disciplined another attorney who presented baseless challenges to the results of the 2022 election.

Cave Creek attorney Daniel McCauley represented Mark Finchem, a former state representative, in a lawsuit challenging Finchem’s loss to Democrat Adrian Fontes in Arizona’s Secretary of State election.

Finchem, the Republican nominee, lost the election by more than 120,000 votes but argued without evidence that fraud and misconduct by election officials handed the race to Fontes.

“Mr. McCauley admits that he lacked a sufficient factual or legal basis for several allegations advanced in those proceedings and further admits that some of his claims were false, inaccurate, frivolous, or based on speculation,” according to the disciplinary order.

Under an agreement with the State Bar of Arizona, McCauley will serve a 30-day suspension and then retire for at least one year. McCauley told the Bar he has no plans to practice law in the future. 

McCauley acknowledged in court the case could result in disciplinary action by the state bar.

“If I get in real trouble or get disbarred here, I’ll be 77 or 76 by the time they get to it,” he said in December 2022. 

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Melissa Julian already sanctioned McCauley and Finchem after dismissing the case, saying it was brought in faith. She ruled  McCauley and Finchem failed to provide any evidence that the contest was impacted by misconduct or fraud

McCauley had not practiced election law prior to taking Finchem’s case. According to the state bar website, his practice focused on business law and wills, trusts and estates. 

McCauley did not respond to a request for comment.

Wayne Schutsky is a broadcast field correspondent covering Arizona politics on KJZZ. He has over a decade of experience as a journalist reporting on local communities in Arizona and the state Capitol.