The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposed the citizens initiative to create the Citizens Clean Elections Commissions. They lost. They have used their lickspittle lackeys in Arizona’s GOP-controlled legislature ever since to undermine the commission – with some success – with the goal to eventually destroy it.
Their latest effort is Prop. 306 which misleading claims to reform some clean elections rules. Don’t be fooled by the language of the ballot measure.
Mark Kimble, former editor of the now defunct Tucson Citizen, has an op-ed at the Arizona Daily Star which explains Prop 306 imperils nonpartisan Citizens Clean Elections Commission:
Twenty years ago, Arizona voters approved formation of the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, to “improve the integrity of Arizona state government and promote public confidence in the Arizona political process.”
But on the November ballot, the Arizona Legislature, using Prop. 306, is trying to trick you into doing away with the nonpartisan Clean Elections Commission. They want you to turn the entire process over to a shadow group of political appointees, all of whom would represent only the party of the governor.
Legislators want to do all they can to make sure the sources of dark money in political campaigns remain secret. And they want your help.
Take a close look at Prop. 306 and understand what the real goal is.
The majority in the Legislature knew that if they put on the ballot a clearly worded proposition to do away with clean elections, it would be soundly rejected. So they resorted to obfuscation and misdirection.
Look at the wording on the ballot. It states that Prop. 306 “would prohibit candidates who finance their political campaigns with public funding from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission from transferring any campaign funds to a political party …”
OK, fair enough. There are legitimate concerns that political parties may use some of those public dollars for other races and other causes.
But the ballot measure doesn’t tell you that the Clean Elections Commission already has addressed this issue.
In 2017, the Clean Elections Commission approved new rules reaffirming that political parties may use Clean Elections funding only for campaign expenditures directly related to those candidates’ own campaigns. Those rules are backed up with audits.
So what is the real goal of Prop. 306?
Some legislators — especially those opposed to the public knowing who gave them campaign contributions — have long detested the Clean Elections process.
They don’t like moves by the Clean Elections Commission to shine light on the sources of dark money in Arizona political campaigns. However, those legislators have been stymied in doing away with Clean Elections because you — the voters of Arizona — established it. Only you can do away with it.
Enter Prop. 306, placed on the ballot by legislators to neuter Clean Elections. But unless you are a legal scholar, it would be difficult to figure that out from plowing through the language of the proposition.
The Clean Elections Commission is made up of five people, balanced politically and geographically.
The state’s top elected Republican and Democrat alternate making appointments. There can be no more than two members of any party and no more than two members from any one county. The current commission has two Republicans, two Democrats and an independent, representing Pima, Maricopa and Gila counties.
That kind of bipartisanship — imposed by you, the voter — is bothersome to strongly partisan legislators. But knowing they cannot do away with Clean Elections, they came up with a sneaky alternative: Make the commission subservient to a group of partisan hacks.
Prop. 306 would give the little-known Governor’s Regulatory Review Council veto power over Clean Election rules. That council is made up of people appointed only by the governor and his political insiders.
Clean Elections has moved to uncloak dark money. Prop. 306 would draw the cloak closer.
Don’t be fooled by this legislative flimflam. Don’t let politicians appoint their friends to write campaign rules. Vote no on Prop. 306 and keep Arizona elections clean.
For what it’s worth, the Arizona Republic’s Robert Robb also opposes Prop. 306, albeit for his own convoluted reasoning that Republicans did not try to gut the commission the “right way.” Prop. 306 is the wrong way to reform Arizona’s Clean Elections system. He says it is going to lead to legal challenges in the courts – like everything else our idiot legislature does.
Just vote no on Prop. 306 so your tax dollars do not get pissed away on yet another lawsuit.