The Clean Elections law was supposed to increase citizen participation in the political process, but an administrative flight policy might be having the opposite effect.
Commission regulations require publicly financed candidates to pay for flights and normally report them as expenditures. That sounds reasonable at first glance. However, it has created an unforeseen problem in its wake.
As reported by the Arizona Capitol Times, some pilots would like to support their favored candidates by donating their services. Through this rule, their participation in the political process is severely limited because they can’t freely donate their time or plane. Instead, candidates are required to pay pilots a fee determined by the Commission for the “value of the travel.” The end result of the Commission’s policy is squarely at odds with the intent of the law ’" increasing citizen participation in the political process.
The flight rules highlight the increasing complexity and difficulty in implementing Arizona’s government controlled campaign finance system. Candidates should be encouraged to travel by air to visit voters in far-flung areas of their districts. Eliminating or at least streamlining existing Clean Elections airfare rules will help keep citizens involved in the process and help candidates communicate with voters.
-Goldwater Institute, “Is Cleanliness Political Godliness? Arizona’s Clean Elections Law after Its First Year”
- Arizona Capitol Times: “Just ’plane’ unfair?”
-Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Substantive Policy No. 13