Republican attorney Stephen Churchwell, a prominent tribal-rights lawyer,
will lose at least two clients due to his role as treasurer for the pro-Phil
Angelides independent-expenditure committee funded by Angelo Tsakapolous.
Two major California gaming tribes, the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians and
the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, will be hiring another lawyer,
according to David Quintana. Quintana is the political director of the
California Tribal Business Alliance, of which both tribes are members. Both
were also supporters of Angelides’ opponent in the Democratic gubernatorial
primary, Controller Steve Westly.
“The Viejas Tribe is going to be looking for another attorney,” said
Quintana. “As supporters of Steve Westly, we were very disappointed to see
him go work for that [Angelides] IE.”
Quintana said Churchwell served as political attorney for both tribes,
mainly processing political donations. He was paid on an hourly basis for a
relatively small amount of work each year.
His hiring by the IE, and that of Vona Copp, raised eyebrows among political
insiders, since both have been associated with Republican causes. Churchwell
was treasurer for Citizens Against Government Run Healthcare, which helped
defeat Proposition 72 in 2004.
Copp, meanwhile, is probably best known as the treasurer for Rescue