Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People

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Jonathan "Payday" Paton is no longer in the legislature, but his No Taxpayer Money for Politicians Group continues his purposefully deceptive attempts to repeal Citizens Clean Elections that began in 2010. Paton thinks the voters are just a bunch of rubes for ever enacting Citizens Clean Elections, and he wants you to repeal it.

On Monday, the latest water-carrier for Paton's jihad against Citizens Clean Elections, Sen. John McComish, introduced SCR1021, a proposed constitutional amendment backed by business interests (Arizona Chamber of Commerce) and influential conservative advocacy groups (Goldwater Institute), purposefully deceptively titled the “No Taxpayer Subsidies for Political Campaigns Act” (remarkably similar to Paton's group). Measure to dismantle Clean Elections moves forward - Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required):

The measure, if sent to the ballot and approved by the public, bans the state or any of its political subdivisions from spending money to fund candidates’ campaigns.

The proposed constitutional amendment additionally prohibits any tax credit or deduction to do the same.

Finally, it precludes governments from assessing taxes, fees or surcharges if they’re used to provide money to candidates.

But much of the debate Monday centered on what the ballot measure should be called.

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[S]upporters of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which voters approved in 1998, said the proposal to gut it should be called what it seeks to do — a repeal of Arizona’s “clean elections” system.

The public knows the program by that name and giving the proposal another title would be “deceptive,” they said.

But the system’s opponents said taking “clean elections” out of the title would provide a much truer sense of what the system is about.

To them, the program is about subsidizing candidates’ campaigns with taxpayer dollars and calling it “clean elections” is deceptive.

The fight over the measure’s title is important.

It is effectively the start of a public relations war over the 14-year old system, which is widely used by Republicans and Democrats alike.

The ballot measure’s title could spell the difference between success and failure at the ballot box.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the referral by a vote of 6-2.

As expected, the lawmakers on the panel split along party lines. Republicans backed the measure while Democrats opposed it.

The full Senate still needs to debate and vote on the measure. It will pass. The voters need to educate themselves on what this is really all about. Do not be deceived by these charlatans.