• The disclosure and limitation laws compelled candidates to file reports identifying who contributed to their campaigns
and by how much, and limited such contributions to set dollar amounts
(increased over time for inflation).
They also required non-candidate
political committees to file similar
reports with the Secretary of State
listing donors and contributions and
identifying how the money was spent
• The public finance provisions funded
candidates who demonstrated a mini-
mal credibility by securing a specified
number of five-dollar contributions.
• The matching-funds provisions supplied a candidate who qualified for
public financing with additional public funds equaling the voluntary contributions their opponents had raised
the traditional way from supporters’
As a result of recent federal court deci-
sions, one of the walls of this structure has
crumbled, and a second is teetering. The
first to go was the matching funds law,
Elections Act (Proposition 200) approved
by the voters at the 1998 election. In 2011,
the Supreme Court struck down matching
funds as contrary to the First Amendment’s
1 Candidates can
still qualify for public funding, but the
amount provided by the Clean Elections
Commission often is dwarfed by what tradi-
tional candidates can raise from their sup-
porters. Matching funds once made up the
difference, but no longer.
Recent history shows the effect the loss
of the matching funds provisions has
had on Arizona elections. In 2002,
Janet Napolitano won the governor’s
race with Clean Elections matching
funds. By 2014, neither of the general
election gubernatorial candidates
bothered with Clean Elections public
2 Of all candidates who won
statewide office in 2014, only Diane
Douglas, candidate for Superintendent
of Public Instruction, won with Clean
Elections public funding and with
only such funding.
3 Two candidates
won Corporation Commission seats
with Clean Elections funding, but huge
amounts of Dark Money flowed in to
support them or to defeat their opponents.
The second wall, which now teeters on
collapse, relates to the contribution limits
and disclosure laws as applied to political
committees other than candidate committees. It suffered a grievous blow from a
declaratory judgment entered against the
Ten years ago,
a sturdy edifice
No access to data.
No lost information.
No confidentiality concern.
No ethics violation.
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