Clean Elections Act Supporters Focus On Only Part Of The Measure

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Monday, October 1, 2018 - 11:00am
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Lauren Loftus/KJZZ

The Arizona Secretary of State’s office sent out voter guides last week with information on what ballot measures voters will see on their November ballot — and all of the support statements for Proposition 306 focus on just one aspect of the clean election measure despite its dual-pronged design.

One part would subject the rules enacted by the bipartisan Citizens Clean Elections Commission to review — and veto — by the Governor's Regulatory Review Council. That body is made up entirely of people named by the governor.

The second part of 306 would prohibit publicly funded candidates from buying services from political parties if passed. All support statements in the voters’ guide, however, focus on just that second part.

Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, called the two-fold proposal a "Trojan horse,'' because supporters say very little about the changes to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

That commission has recently enacted rules requiring certain groups seeking to influence political campaigns to disclose the sources of their funds, even as Arizona lawmakers have approved and Gov. Doug Ducey has signed legislation to shield the identity of donors.

Ducey has depended on private donations for all of his campaigns, with much of his support coming from "dark money" groups that refuse to divulge their donors — and he is on record as opposing efforts to ban anonymous funding of political campaigns.

Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction, who is listed as the author of Proposition 306, referred questions about the change in rule oversight to Scot Mussi.

Mussi is the chairman of the Stop Taxpayer Money for Political Parties, the group set up to convince voters to approve Proposition 306. That same group paid for 33 individuals to put statements into the ballot pamphlet being mailed to the homes of all registered voters detailing why publicly funded candidates should not be able to buy services from political parties.

He said there is no reason to exempt the clean election commission from the Governor's Regulatory Review Council oversight, even if the clean election commission was created by voters.

"The [Citizens Clean Elections Commission] has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of transparency and accountability while passing rules that have received limited public input,'' he said. Mussi added that the Governor's Regulatory Review Council is no more a political body than the commission, whose members are appointed by elected officials, though the five-member panel is made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and an Independent.

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