Did the GOP Corp Comm candidates violate Clean Elections rules?
27 Aug 2012 03:40 pm
Posted by: Donna
From yesterday’s Bob Robb column:
I got a curious mailer last week from the Republican candidates for Corporation Commission: Bob Burns, Bob Stump and Susan Bitter Smith.
The timing was curious, for one thing. The three are unopposed in the Republican primary. Campaign cash is scarce for commission races. So, why waste the money now rather than husbanding resources to chase early ballots hard in the general election?
The message was also curious. The pitch was that the Republican slate should be elected to stop President Barack Obama’s “radical energy policies” from driving up electricity prices.
The timing is easy to explain. I commented on the online column pointing out that Clean Elections candidates (which all three are) get two allotments of money, one for the primary election and one for the general. The $91,465 they get for primary period has to be spent entirely by tomorrow’s primary election or candidates have to return the unused portion. I gave it no further thought until late last night when I thought, “hey wait a minute!” This morning I had a friend send me the mailer she got, which is probably the same as the one Robb is describing. I’ve linked to the whole piece but here’s a snippet:
Corp Comm Mailer pic
Here’s what it says about primary campaign expenditures on page 25 of the Clean Elections Participating Candidates guide:
Primary election funds must be directed at the primary election.
Nowhere on the hit piece does it even mention the primary. Bob Robb clearly felt it was directed at the general election when he got it, which was a perfectly reasonable conclusion. It slams our Democratic President and “some candidates running for the office of Corporation Commission who want to bring the Obama energy policies to Arizona”. In other words, the Democrats. Just who got this mailer, anyway? Was it mostly sent to Republicans or to independents as well? I’m very curious about that, especially since the deadline for independents to request a partisan primary ballot was August 17th. Not that there was anything on the mailer instructing independent voters about that.
I’ll do a post later about why the GOP Corp Comm candidates and Robb are wrong about energy policy, probably after the primary. I just want to see if others agree with me that this mailer is sketchy and possibly a violation.
Filed under: 2012 Races, Energy/Environment, News and Opinions, President Obama, State politics
Comment by Sam Wercinski on August 27, 2012 5:05 pm
Diva, good to have you writing about this potential violation of AZ’s toughest anti-corruption law passed by voters in 1998. Clean Elections candidates must adhere to higher standards of campaign finance rules than those who get unlimited amounts of campaign cash from private, lobbyist and corporate interests. The beauty of our voter approved law is that it makes participating candidates accountable to voters, not donors and if they break the campaign finance rules, they can actually be removed from office in addition to facing fines. Any citizen can file a complaint against a participating candidate to the Clean Elections Commission which will investigate it and take appropriate action if there are grounds.A Sun City candidate broke the rule you reference in 2010 and faced fines. Your readers can Visit AZCleanElections.gov for procedures to file a concern or to contact the Commission staff for more information. As you know, AZadvocacy.org works to defend and strengthen Clean Elections. We’ll need your help in 2013 to accomplish this. Thanks for your highlight.