Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People

For Immediate Release         Date: October 28, 2011         Contact:  Sam Wercinski, 602-228-4497

Court’s favorable ruling believed to be too narrow.
Clean Elections on solid constitutional ground.

Phoenix, AZ – After discussing the court’s favorable ruling with their attorneys, plaintiff Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation believed that the Arizona Supreme Court might issue an even broader ruling if given a chance to hear their arguments.

The case is known nationally as Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation vs Bennett. The plaintiffs challenged several aspects of the unconstitutional repeal measure, winning on one of their arguments. Paul Eckstein, a partner at Perkins Coie, who represented the plaintiffs, stated, “We are pleased with Judge Fink's ruling invalidating S.C.R. 1025 under the separate amendment rule, based on the fact that the measure would have seized Tucson's taxpayer funds for the state's coffers.  We continue to believe that repealing Clean Elections at the state level and gutting charter cities' home-rule authority over the conduct of local elections creates an independent and significant separate amendment rule problem. That may be a fight for another day and as it stands, this anti-Clean Elections measure will not be on the ballot in November 2012."

Speaking for Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, Sam Wercinski added that “This may be the real reason why the losing side on this unconstitutional effort won’t appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court. We could get a much broader decision.”

Clean Elections continues to have strong support among likely 2012 voters with a 77% approval rating after being provided a factual explanation of the program and how it works. Capitol insiders say that the unconstitutional repeal measure was going nowhere in the State House until corporate interests weighed in and began arm-twisting. A new repeal measure will likely meet resistance among lawmakers, some of whom feel bruised by voting for a measure they were told was constitutional and would hold up in court. Supporters want to work with legislators to improve Clean Elections as an anti-corruption tool during the 2012 legislative session.

“Clean Elections was passed by voters in 1998 because they recognized the corrupting nature of Big Money, just as we saw in AZSCAM and this year surrounding the Fiesta Bowl scandal. Legislators now have an opportunity to strengthen a law passed by voters and still supported by voters,” Wercinski concluded.

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