State Capitol News
9:22 am
Thu January 21, 2010

Federal judge rules state cannot provide matching funds

Phoenix, AZ – Judge Roslyn Silver said the provision in the 1998 voter-approved
law infringes on the First Amendment rights of those who refuse
to participate. That's because every time privately funded
candidates spend more money to advance their candidacy, the state
gives a matching amount to their foes running with public
dollars. But Silver gave the Citizens Clean Elections Commission
10 days to appeal and, more to the point, seek a stay from her
order. Nick Dranias with the Goldwater Institute, which sued on
behalf of candidates who don't want their private dollars
matched, said to get that stay the commission needs to prove to
the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that Silver's order will create
-- quote -- irreparable harm. But commission executive director
Todd Lang said it would be a hardship to kill the matching funds
now, as many candidates already have agreed to take public
dollars with the anticipation they would get extra if necessary.
In the meatime, the two Republicans running for governor with
public funds -- incumbent Jan Brewer and state Treasurer Dean
Martin -- say they intend to stay the course, even if Silver's
order is upheld -- and even if they don't get matching dollars if
Buz Mills or John Munger, both running with private money, spend
more. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.