Campaign Finance & Election
Campaigns should be open and free, not prone to manipulation through government financing schemes. And now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.
By Paul Atkinson, KJZZ
You may have heard or seen one of the advertisements…
TV ADVERTISEMENT: “Clean Elections, everybody wins…"
In its lawsuit, Goldwater Institute attorney Carrie Ann Sitren cites the Clean Election Commission’s own marketing plan that says it ‘Needs to raise its profile and begin laying the groundwork to counter charges that the system doesn’t work.’
The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission was established to provide public funding for election campaigns. The commission, however, began using its funds to promote itself in a series of advertisements, in violation of state law.
The Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of No Taxpayer Money for Politicians – the ballot committee supporting a constitutional amendment to end public funding for political candidate campaigns.
PHOENIX -- A lawsuit filed today claims that the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission’s acts of self promotion – done in the name of voter education – violate state statute.
The suit was filed in Maricopa County Superior Court by the Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation on behalf of No Taxpayer Money for Politicians – the ballot committee supporting a constitutional amendment for the November 6, 2012 election to end public funding for political candidate campaigns.
From the complaint:
The Goldwater Institute's Starlee Rhoades appeared on KPNX's Sunday Square Off along with former candidate for attorney general Felecia Rotellini, and Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts, where they discussed campaign finance, pensions, and CPS.
The Goldwater Institute was one of three locations around the country that got to take part in the CNN Republican debate and ask questions of the candidates.
The proceedings leading to the instant application are a prime example of the defiance of law, logic and evidence that can be expected to grow if the Ninth Circuit’s decision in McComish is allowed to stand. To protect the rule of law in the wake of Davis and Citizens United, and in view of this Court’s June 8, 2010 order staying the Ninth Circuit’s decision (McComish Pet. App. 81), the undersigned amicus party wholeheartedly agrees that preliminary injunctive relief should be granted to Appellants.
Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission is dirtying up politics. Afraid of a proposal on next year’s ballot that would end the commission’s funding, the commission is using taxpayer money to run ads against the ballot measure.
This ad campaign means that taxpayers who actually support ending funding for the commission could end up paying for the “no” ads – not exactly clean or fair politics.
PHOENIX – A Superior Court Judge ruled yesterday that school districts may not use bond money in ways voters have not approved.
In a case watched by school districts throughout the state, the court ruled that Cave Creek School District violated its contract with the voters when it diverted bond money to unapproved projects, and the statute permitting a few districts to break their agreements is an unconstitutional special law.
Phoenix -- Last week Arizona became the first state to challenge a particularly egregious overreach of federal power: Washington's current interpretation of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Enacted in 1965, the Voting Rights Act ensures equal access to the ballot regardless of race.
Can the government play favorites when it comes to freedom of speech? The Goldwater Institute didn’t think so, and challenged Arizona's system of public campaign financing all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The resulting victory struck down similar provisions in states across the U.S., preventing governments from gaming the political system in favor of government-funded candidates, and keeping elections free and open.