Arizona victory for Clean Election Law

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona’s “Clean Election Law,” which provides for publicly financed elections for all state offices, survived another assault from Republicans and their corporate backers this month. The state Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling throwing Proposition 106 off the November ballot. The proposition would have nullified the election law by stripping it of most of its financing.

The state law, passed by the voters six years ago, requires candidates to gather $5 contributions from a certain number of voters, the number depending on the office sought. Once collected, public financing kicks in and candidates receive campaign money. The law makes it difficult for wealthy business interests to buy and sell political office.

Insurance companies, big developers, and other corporate interests spent over $600,000 to mount an initiative to get the proposition on the ballot, but the courts threw it out for illegally trying to amend two separate sections of the Arizona Constitution.

Jeff Simpson, a Tucson supporter of the law, told the World that the people of Arizona must not let down their guard since the special interests who hate public financing will be back in two years.

Simpson added that it’s ironic how corporate greed torpedoed their proposition because they weren’t content to just try and abolish the law, but instead wanted to transfer all the money raised for public financing of candidates into the state’s general fund where they could raid it. “It was exactly that greed which made the proposition unconstitutional,” he said.

The author can be reached at stelnik@webtv.net.