Clean Elections Commission to give 20 million dollars to state government

Phoenix, AZ – The 1998 law allows candidates for statewide and legislative
office who do not take private dollars to get public financing
for their campaigns. They get set amounts depending on the office
sought. The law also provides a dollar-for-dollar match when
privately funded foes spend more. But Todd Lang, the commission's
executive director, said it never got to give out those extra
dollars this year.

(As you know, the Supreme Court barred us from issuing matching
funds this election cycle. It's a shame because voters don't get
to hear both sides of the story and there's less political
speech. But the benefit is that there's more money available to
transfer to the general fund.)

Lang said that left the commission with $10 million more than
expected on top of the $10 million it already has planned to give
the state after this year's election. The U.S. Supreme Court
still has to make a final decision on whether matching funds are
constitutional. But even if it permanently bars the practice,
there is no legal way for the commission or even the Legislature
to reduce the money which comes in automatically every year,
largely from a 10 percent surcharge on civil, criminal and
traffic fines. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.