State Capitol News
10:40 am
Tue June 8, 2010

Candidates Wait to Hear Ruling on Clean Elections

Phoenix, AZ – The Clean Elections Act lets candidates for statewide and
legislative office who don't take other cash get public funding.
The allocations are set by law. This fight is over a provision
which provides extra cash when privately financed contenders
spend more than that. That's what has happened in the governor's
race where Buz Mills already has spent close to $2.3 million, far
more than the $770,000 being given to Jan Brewer and Dean Martin.
A trial judge ruled earlier this year the matches are an
unconstitutional infringement of the First Amendment rights of
those privately financed foes. She said they won't spend the
money they're entitled to spend because it would mean extra cash
for oppoents. The 9th Circuit disagreed. So last week foes asked
the nation's high court to immediately block matching funds while
the case is on appeal. On Monday, state solicitor general Mary
O'Grady urged the justices to stay out of the fight. She said
it's too late for candidates who took the public money to now
change their minds and seek private dollars if the rules are
changed in the middle of the campaign. And O'Grady said the only
people who would benefit from high court intervention now are
candidates who want to use their private dollars to financially
overwhelm their publicly funded foes. A ruling could come as
early as today. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.