Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People

EDITOR:

 

A little history lesson: In 1998, Arizona voters approved the Citizens Clean Elections Act to curb the political influence by millionaires in our state.

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Two of our state’s constitutional officers, entrusted by voters with safeguarding the vital interests of our citizens, are making news for reprehensible conduct in their official and political capacities. Sixty years ago Joseph Welsh, attorney for a U.S. Senate select committee investigating charges made against public officials by Senator Joseph McCarthy, said in exasperation to McCarthy: “Finally, Senator, have you left no sense of decency?” I’d say the same to Tom Horne and John Huppenthal, who shame everyone of us while remaining themselves shameless. If either had a shred of decency, he would resign today and not attempt to brazen out of their untenable positions. And to all my fellow readers, let me add that we’d not be in this sorry state of affairs today if we’d had the sense to elect to their offices people of integrity committed to serving the people of Arizona.

 

Frank Bergen,Tucson

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(Published June 23, 2014)

Your editorial arguing that the voters, and not a state agency, should decide Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's political fate is problematic ("Tom Horne needs to go, but the right way," Opinions, Friday). While I agree that Arizona voters should show Horne the door, the Clean Elections Commission is still within its statutory and ethical rights to investigate Horne for campaign finance violations now. Just because the Arizona Legislature and governor passed a bill that will, when it goes into effect, prevent the commission from conducting such investigations, does not mean that the commission should desist now. Elected politicians have no incentive to police themselves; thus, the Legislature doing what it can to limit the Clean Elections Commission is entirely predictable, albeit disappointing. You resort to grade-school name calling in labeling the officials at the Citizens Clean Election Commission "sanctimonious do-gooders," and it is bizarre that you belittle the commission for being exactly what this state need s more of in public office — "do-gooders."

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When the Supreme Court handed down the dubious and disastrous Citizens United ruling, money became free speech. Measures to require full disclosure of donors were filibustered by Mitch McConnell and his lapdogs in the Senate. Now donors are allowed to remain anonymous when they contribute this “dark money” to the candidates they can own and dictate policy to. The Arizona Advocacy Group and Clean Elections in Arizona are valiantly fighting the effects of dark money in initiatives to marginalize and minimize its effects on our elections. Dark money comes from a variety of dubious sources with one of the most notable being the Koch Brothers who are attempting to buy elections at every level.

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A little history lesson: In 1998, Arizona voters approved the Citizens Clean Elections Act to curb the political influence by millionaires in our state. It passed by a 2-1 margin and became the model for other states to pass similar legislation. This was a shining moment in our state's history.

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(Published April 26, 2014)

To my dismay, Gov. Brewer has sided with the scofflaw Republican majorities in what is supposed to be the Arizona people’s Legislature and signed SB1344, a bill that emasculates the state’s citizen-approved Clean Elections Commission.

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SCOTUS’ decision on April 2 was a late April Fools’ joke. I wish it had been announced on April 1 so we would understand it was a joke. To now allow unlimited money into our political process under the guise of freedom of speech is totally absurd. Especially after our activist Supreme Court already had given the rich and corporations the right to donate unGodly sums with SCOTUS’ Citizens United decision.

 - Frank Copple, Sun City West

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When I read my paper this morning [Friday, April 25] I saw to my dismay that Governor Brewer had sided with the scofflaw Republican majorities in what is supposed to be the Arizona people's legislature and signed SB1344, a bill that emasculates the state's citizen-approved Clean Elections Commission.  Henceforth the Commission will be unable to monitor the campaign finances of those  who choose not to run as clean election candidates, like our Attorney General who remains under investigation for collusion with a so-called independent expenditure committee in his 2010 general election campaign. 

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Re: the April 8 article “Big outside groups overshadow parties in key races.” 

I am confused why our lawmakers seem to be in favor of increasing the power of shadow groups on local elections.

Obviously, more dark money is going to negatively affect our elections and the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon ruling will inevitably allow big money to influence our democracy.

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Regarding "More lawmakers pushing identical bills written by national groups" (Republic, April 5):

The expanding influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council and model-bill drafting concerns me as an issue that imposes national agendas upon regional politics. This, in combination with the recent Supreme Court ruling on the McCutcheon case, only further increases national and outside pressures to peddle mandated agendas, making our state a battleground for issues that are not brought up by Arizona voters. Keep Arizona politics about Arizona.

— Edison LinGilbert