Supreme Court Injects Chaos into Arizona Elections

    Media Contact
  • Dale Eisman
Decision has no impact on pending Fair Elections legislation

Washington, D.C.-Common Cause and Public Campaign released the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s order today blocking the release of matching funds to candidates for office in Arizona who have opted into their Clean Elections program.

“This case is only about one part of Arizona’s successful system-the triggered matching funds program,” said Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign. “We will continue to argue the merits of the matching fund system at every challenge, but it must be noted that this Court decision has no impact on the Fair Elections proposals now advancing in Congress.”

That proposal, the Fair Elections Now Act (HR 1826, S. 752) “sidesteps the Arizona problem by linking the payment of matching funds to each candidate’s in-state, small-donor fundraising, not opponent or independent fundraising,” said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. “The Fair Elections bill is carefully crafted to pass constitutional muster even in light of the Roberts Court’s u-turn toward campaign finance deregulation.”

“The Court has decided to disrupt Arizona’s elections while it waiting for the plaintiff’s arguments and then determining if they are even worthy of a hearing,” Edgar said.

The Court’s order did not note any dissenting opinion and will remain in effect until the Court rules or denies a hearing on McComish V. Bennett, AZ Sec. of State.

The Arizona Clean Elections law was implemented in 2000 and has survived several court cases and repeal threats. More than half of the Arizona legislature and eight of ten statewide officials were elected under the program. Similar Clean Elections laws have been enacted across the country and have been upheld by three federal circuit courts.