AZ Commission Appoints Gosar’s Head Staff as Chief Legal Counsel



The Arizona Corporation Commission has hired Thomas Van Flein, a former lawyer for Sarah Palin and current chief of staff for Congressman Paul Gosar, as its general counsel. Van Flein will be responsible for providing legal advice to the agency’s five commissioners and overseeing all legal questions. Before joining Congressman Gosar’s team in 2011, Van Flein served as a personal lawyer and advisor for Palin and worked on Kari Lake’s unsuccessful run for governor in 2022.

Arizona Corporation Commission Hires Former Palin Lawyer as General Counsel

Rep. Paul Gosar through the years

Thomas Van Flein, former lawyer for Sarah Palin and current chief of staff for Congressman Paul Gosar, has been hired as general counsel for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Van Flein will counsel the agency’s five commissioners, overseeing all legal matters, including commission issues and human resources duties.

Gosar, a controversial conservative figure and instigator of the “Stop the Steal” movement, hired Van Flein in 2011. Gosar has been criticized for associating with a white supremacist and was censured in 2021 for a violent cartoon video his office posted.

Van Flein also served as an advisor for Kari Lake’s 2022 governor run and as a personal lawyer and advisor for Palin.

Former Republican lawmaker Tom Forese believes Van Flein won’t bring politics into the general counsel position. Forese praised Van Flein’s deal-making abilities and role in a Gosar bill ending the COVID-19 emergency.

Van Flein, originally from Alaska, graduated with a law degree from the University of Arizona. He joined Gosar’s team due to his legal work for Rob Robinson, who ran Gosar’s 2010 campaign and secured Palin’s endorsement.

Gosar praised Van Flein as an “exceptional lawyer and a dedicated professional,” adding that his previous deputy chief of staff, Leslie Foti, will take over Van Flein’s position.

Van Flein, licensed as an attorney in Alaska with an inactive license in California, is obtaining his license in Arizona, according to corporation commission spokesperson Nicole Garcia. He’s set to start the job on March 4 with a $190,000 annual salary.

Garcia stated that Van Flein’s experience in utility and construction law made his resume stand out among other applicants.

The Arizona Corporation Commission is currently comprised of four Republicans and a Democrat.

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