Wednesday the court agreed with the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation and declared unconstitutional an effort to repeal Arizona’s popular 1998 anti-corruption law known as Clean Elections. The unconstitutional measure, pushed by state and national big money interests was put on the 2012 ballot by the legislature in May after much arm twisting.
“The legislature overreached again with this unconstitutional measure and trying to deceptively take money from Tucson residents is an abuse of power. I’m glad the court stopped their attempt to logroll voters,” said Tucson voter Carol West.
Speaking for the lead plaintiff, the Arizona Advocacy Network Foundation, Sam Wercinski stated “Voters won today against big-money-self-interests. In 1998 after the AZSCAM scandal, the public recognized the corrupting influence of big money in elections and policy making. That’s why voters passed Clean Elections and continue to support it today, with a 77% approval rating.”
Governor Brewer, Terry Goddard, Secretary of State Bennett, all corporation commissioners and one third of the state legislature qualified as Clean Election candidates in 2010. This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of Clean Elections as a tool to fight the corrupting influence of money in politics.
Many believe Clean Elections has helped to advance Arizona’s renewable energy standards and our state’s growing solar manufacturing industry by protecting corporation commissioners against lobbying attacks from utility and coal interests. Wercinski highlights that all three declared 2012 candidates for corporation commission are currently trying to qualify under the Clean Elections system.
“As the Fiesta Bowl political corruption scandal continues to unravel, Arizona legislators have an opportunity to strengthen Clean Elections and government for the People, not corporations. We’re here to help them achieve this,” added Sam Wercinski.