They’re going after the Citizens Clean Elections Commission … again.
They don’t want clean.
They want dirty.
Twenty years ago, when the level of political corruption got to be too much even for those of us who live in Arizona, voters passed a citizens initiative called the Clean Elections Act, which was meant to “restore citizen participation and confidence in our political system.”
Voter approved, politician hated
The new law created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, under which candidates for legislative and statewide offices who gather a minimum number of $5 contributions would then renounce further private contributions and, in return, receive campaign money from the state. The funding would come from surcharges on civil and criminal fines, tax donations and from increased fees from lobbyists.
Back then, Kaia Lenhart, political director of Arizonans for Clean Elections, said, "Public officials should not be bought by the highest bidder. Arizonans want and deserve elections, not auctions.”
That is still what Arizonans want and deserve.
But it is not what the Republicans who control the Legislature want.
Throwing mud for 20 years
They’ve never wanted it.
And so this year, like almost each year for the past twenty, they’re trying to gut Clean Elections.
This time, it’s House Concurrent Resolution 2007, which the supporters called the “No Taxpayer Money for Political Parties” act.
If it gets on the ballot and voters pass it the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, essentially, would no longer exist.
Not in the form approved by voters, anyway, as an independent, nonpartisan entity.
Giving elites and operatives control
As Joel Edman, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network, wrote in the Arizona Capitol Times, “HCR 2007 eliminates the Clean Elections Commission’s independent, nonpartisan authority to administer and enforce the law, and instead gives final say over Clean Elections rules to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC), a hyper-partisan body stacked with corporate elites and professional political operatives…”
Under the system approved by voters, the commission is nonpartisan and independent.
The politicians who control state government don’t like nonpartisan and independent.
You’ve seen them recently try to dismantle the Independent Redistricting Commission. You’ve seen them recently attack the Voter Protection Act, which prevents politicians from changing voter-approved laws.
They want citizens to elect them and then they want you to just … shut … up. And do nothing, except what they say.
You want Clean Elections.
Why clean elections scare them
They want them dirty.
They’ll use every dirty trick they have.
Twenty years ago the political director of the Clean Elections campaign said, "Big money that has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo is going to come out and oppose this. Right now, they run the current system and they feel pretty threatened by the prospect of losing that control."
They still run the system.
They still feel threatened.