passed the Citizens Clean Elections Act with 50.1 percent support in 1998, the razor thin margin for passage
showed that Arizonans were never that supportive of setting up a bureaucratic
system to funnel taxpayer money to politicians to run for office.
time public support for the program has plummeted as the flaws and abuse of the
system have been exposed. It is bad
enough their money is being used to buy junk mail and political signs rather
than education. But these tax dollars
used to fund political campaigns have been repeatedly misused and
Libertarian, Republican and Democrat candidates have blown public
funds on outlandish purchases such as lavish dinners, personal
gadgetry, and yes, even a margarita machine. One candidate used roughly half
his money with a marketing firm he owned.
and political operatives learned a new trick to manipulate the system. In 2016 they started using their allotment of
Clean Election funds to launder money through the Democrat party to be used in
swing legislative races. In response, voters
Proposition 306 which banned taxpayer money from Clean Elections going to political
surprisingly, some candidates are upset that they can no longer take advantage
of these taxpayer funded loopholes and are considering legal action. In a recent article
in the Capitol Times, Democrats are claiming that their Constitutional right to
assembly is being violated because the money they are legally obligated to
spend running for office cannot be funneled into other races.
that a prohibition Clean Election funds going to the Democrat party violates
their right to assemble with the Democratic Party is absurd. By that legal
reasoning Clean Elections should continue to allow candidates to throw
expensive dinners at the Sanctuary for all their friends lest they violate
their right to associate or assemble with those friends.
reasoning is also hypocritical. Many of
the same politicians claiming that taxpayer money to political parties is a
form of association protected by the 1st amendment have also railed
against the right to
anonymously give and assemble for causes or
issues that they support. Apparently, when it comes to using your own money
you have limited rights but using taxpayers money to fund causes they support
should come without guardrails.
the most ironic criticism is the public admission by one lawmaker that they can
no longer use public funds to throw parties at Democrat party headquarters. In the same
article, Senator Andrea Dalessandro decried the
passage of Prop 306 as prohibiting her from “giving any extra money left over
at the end of her campaign to the county party for its election night
gathering.” So it appears we have now went from candidates manipulating the
system to buy margarita machines to now funneling the money to the Democrat
party so that they can buy the margarita machines.
goodness voters passed Proposition 306.
Given the disrespect some politicians have with their money, perhaps
next go round they will vote to eliminate Clean Elections altogether.