Clean Elections money: Look what you bought

ASU’s Cronkite News reports on the novel ways some of the 107 candidates who received public monies to run for the state legislature in 2010, spent the combined $3.2 million they collected from the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission — via Arizona citizens.

Arizona voters passed the public-financing scheme in 1998 after being convinced that “Clean Elections” meant that there was a taint to free speech, which rendered  it “dirty.”

In return for collecting 220 $5 contributions, candidates receive money from the Clean Elections Commission. The amounts vary depending on the office sought, with statewide offices paying out substantial amounts. After the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the controversial matching funds provision this past summer, primary gubernatorial candidates received $707,000, rather than approximately $2.1 million — though hardly chump change. Previously, “participating” candidates got additional money to match the spending by their opponents who were raising private funds from a supportive constituency.

For a comprehensive overview, read what the Institute for Justice has to say regarding the restrictions on free speech the plan imposes. But while free speech took a beating, free spending obviously does not.

8 Responses to Clean Elections money: Look what you bought

  1. Villanova says:

    Here is the Institute for Justice’s explanation of how Arizona’s exceedingly unfair matching funds system works:
    For every dollar spent by an independent group opposing a government-funded candidate or by a traditionally funded candidate above a certain amount, the government gives taxpayer dollars to each of the publicly financed candidates in the race. This allows the government-subsidized candidates to “match” the spending—and thus the speech—of the independent group or privately funded candidate opposing him. The harder an independent group or traditionally financed candidate works, the more the government-subsidized candidates benefit. The Act curbs speech, discourages participation and limits what voters will hear about politics.

    • Laveen Mike says:

      Sorry, spending is not speech and you cannot limit someone’s free speech by giving someone else money or more opportunity to have their voice heard. Also, the matching was blocked this year by the courts.

  2. Fed Up says:

    Any candidates who use public money to purchase computers, cameras, printers and other equipment for themselves and pay their own relatives as campaign workers should be publicly exposed and rendered ineligible to further fleece the public as elected officials. This is a system that begs to be corrupted and far too many office seekers appear eager to do so.

    • Laveen Mike says:

      That would be – Catherine Miranda, Catherine Miranda, and Catherine Miranda. She also took out $1200 in petty cash.

  3. Steve says:

    Question: WHY are the parameters non-existent?

  4. Jay Bird says:

    Want to host a mariachi party or buy a new computer? Run on public funds! And you can also pay your relatives. Sweet deal, huh?

    • Laveen Mike says:

      Those are all Catherine Miranda, nothing more than a common thief making a mockery of the system. She also rented a car, and paid for a boatload of personal food. I ran on clean elections and I challenge anyone to find a single dollar that I paid out that wasn’t in the intention of Clean Elections money. No gas, food, relative payments, free stuff for us. We did buy 2 small coolers and a couple fold out chairs for events, but the way Clean Elections spells it out, I was afraid to spend my own money on those as I donated the max to my campaign and didn’t want to violate campaign finance laws.

  5. Jack says:

    The U.S. Supreme Court is contemplating dismantling the provision that gives extra (matching) money to taxpayer funded candidates whose opponents are funded by actual supporters who agree with their stated positions.

    Last summer the court blocked the AZ “Clean” Elections Commission from dispersing “matching funds,” which impacted candidates during the recent cycle.

    Do you realize that your money goes to candidates with whom you disagree? You have no say in the dispersement.