Arizona Advocacy Network

Government of, by and for the People

Link to Letter

 Thank you for your editorial Friday, “Stop playing with system.”

As you point out, “the system frees candidates to spend time convincing voters of their adequacy as opposed to clocking hours raising funds.”

Thus, it is a public good. Our democracy is being corrupted by the dollars that go into campaigns. Voters approved Arizona’s Clean Election system.

I support your call for critics “to stop playing games.” The attempt to force voters to make a false choice between Clean Elections and education is pernicious (House Concurrent Resolution 2026).

House Bill 2593 is being moved forward without public debate and raises contributions from $5 to $5,000. Thus, it inserts large campaign contributions and quid pro quos back into the election process.

Such efforts show great disdain for the public and for democracy.

Thank you again for calling the games what they are.

- Barbara Sherman, Tempe

Link to Article/Video

 

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A national whistleblower group is accusing Arizona politicians of being in the pocket of big corporations.

 

The group Common Cause is accusing nearly all the Republicans in the Arizona State House and Senate of participating in a political "scheme."

A 50-page report compiled by Common Cause and its allied organizations claims more than $200,000 has gone to Arizona legislators in the past several years to pay for plane tickets, rooms at lavish resorts and food and drink, among other perks.

Read more...

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We have never pretended Arizona’s Clean Elections system of publicly financed political campaigns is without flaws.

The 1998 Citizens Clean Elections Act provided matching funds for candidates relying on public dollars against privately funded opponents. The courts have since dispatched that constitutionally star-crossed practice.

As for the funding, much of it comes from a 10 percent surcharge on civil penalties and fines, a tax that advocates argue is not a tax, because it is assessed against taxpayers who have been caught speeding and such. Since when are speeders not taxpayers? That never made much sense.

Still, the system frees candidates to spend time convincing voters of their adequacy as opposed to clocking hours raising funds.

In that regard, it qualifies as a public good.

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As the U.S. Supreme Court mulls the fate of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Americans are growing more aware that one of the most positive and pro-democracy laws in American history could be unraveled by a handful of justices on a sharply divided court.

For Arizonans, the timing is more concerning, because the court is also hearing Arizona vs. ITCA, which could reinstate unnecessary ID requirements that created barriers to registering to vote and undermine the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

As these cases remind us, the battle for equality is not over. Our rights as Americans include fair elections and equal access to voting, free of barriers designed to discourage or prevent citizens from casting ballots on Election Day.

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cleanelectionsfocusonvoters

Members of Arizona Advocacy Network gathered at the State Capitol Building on Tuesday to "stop the war on voters."

According to organizers, the war on voters is in reference to a series of bills targeted at making voting more difficult and inaccessible, plus increasng campaign finance limits to squeeze out the average Arizonan from the political process.

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To Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, the state law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration is “common sense,” not a burden.

To opponents, Arizona’s Proposition 200 is just another obstacle that would restrict access to the polls for the young, elderly and minorities.

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in this month in a hearing that will be watched closely by voting-rights advocates and by several other states with similar laws.

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The U.S. political system is increasingly gamed against Americans of modest means — a situation exacerbated in recent years by major changes in the nation's campaign laws.

That's the overriding takeaway from a new report slated for release today by Demos, a left-leaning nonprofit public policy group "working for an America where we all have an equal say in our democracy and an equal chance in our economy."

The 39-page report, entitled "Stacked Deck," paints a picture of corporate powerhouses and wealthy businesspeople dominating political discourse and exacting disproportionate influence over policy incomes.

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Link to ArticleThe five justices wiped out more than a hundred years of legal precedent intended to protect government of, by and for the people, and put American democracy up for sale to the highest bidder.

Now Arizona House Bill 2306 is introduced.

It will double the amount of campaign cash that political action committees, driven by lobbyists, can give to candidates for greater leverage when they're in office.

This bill sets the stage for removing all campaign-contribution limits and undermines the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which voters approved in 1998.

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PHOENIX – Over objections from voting rights groups, a Senate committee endorsed a bill Tuesday aimed at helping counties manage permanent early voter lists to reduce the number of provisional ballots cast.

SB 1261, authored by Rep. Michele Reagan, R-Scottsdale, would allow counties to purge from the lists people who don’t vote in both the primary and general elections in a given year.

Election officials would have to notify those voters by mail that their names will be removed if they don’t return a postcard saying that they wish to remain on the list.

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Arizona Republic columnist Doug MacEachern shed light on how “‘Dark money’ in campaigns undermines basic democracy,” because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision (Viewpoints, Jan. 13).

The five justices wiped out more than a hundred years of legal precedent intended to protect government of, by and for the people, and put American democracy up for sale to the highest bidder.

Now Arizona House Bill 2306 is introduced.

It will double the amount of campaign cash that political action committees, driven by lobbyists, can give to candidates for greater leverage when they’re in office.

This bill sets the stage for removing all campaign-contribution limits and undermines the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which voters approved in 1998.

Read more...

 

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I agree with John MacDonald's quote in Kathleen Ingley's column that "lobbyists have way too much influence at the state Capitol" ("Ending the freebies," Viewpoints, Sunday).

Special-interest influence is the worst I have seen in my 35-plus years of being associated with state government. It started on this path with the passage of legislative term limits and won't change until those limits are repealed. By the time a legislator figures out that most things lobbyists ask for will put taxpayer money in their pockets, they are termed out.

Read more...

 Link to Article


The U.S. Supreme Court on March 18 will hear arguments surrounding Arizona's 2004 voter-approved requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

In the case surrounding Proposition 200, state attorneys will ask the high court to overturn a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that said the state cannot require Arizona voters to provide documents when registering with the federal form, but it can require voters registering with the state form to do so.

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The first two weeks of January are a financial feeding frenzy for Arizona lawmakers as they try to wipe out campaign debt and pad their coffers with enough money to sustain them for the next several months.

Arizona law forbids legislators from accepting donations when the Legislature is in session, typically from the second Monday of January until late April.

Lobbyists eager to curry favor pack their schedules with fundraiser dinners, cocktail parties and other events, writing check after check to legislators.

Read more...

More Articles...

  1. County Attorney: AG Tom Horne broke law
  2. ACC candidates' mailer violated rules, Dems say
  3. Did the GOP Corp Comm candidates violate Clean Elections rules?
  4. First-time voter? Veteran offers election-day lowdown
  5. Former Encinitas Broker Labeled AzScam Figure, Faces State Probe
  6. Judicial Elections and the Bottom Line
  7. Americans Want Next President to Prioritize Jobs, Corruption Lowest priorities are taxing wealthy and environmental problem
  8. Clean Elections candidates must attend public debates
  9. Clean Elections Candidates must attend debates, focus on voters, not donors
  10. Indicted lawmaker uses campaign cash for legal expenses (Clean Elections Candidates prohibited from such spending.)
  11. Guest Column by Mike Valder, President Emeritus, Arizona Advocacy Network
  12. Arizona Lobbyist Suspected Of Working For FBI Asked To Leave GOP Fundraiser
  13. Justice Kennedy grants Arizona officials request to keep in place law that discourages voter registration of elderly, homeless, poor, college students and historically disfranchised citizens.
  14. Arizona officials fighting to keep unnecessary and burdensome voting law. Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  15. 9th Circuit Denies Appeal to Stay Decision, Upholds Victory for Voting Rights
  16. Former Chief Justice, 15 Past Bar Presidents oppose Prop 115: “…will put politics right back into the judicial selection process…”
  17. Andrew Thomas backs judicial-selection ballot measure
  18. AZ and Maine Clean Elections: Real Campaign Compliance Teeth
  19. Why not clean elections?
  20. Arizona’s Budget Giveaway to the Private Prison Industry