Should state legislators running for Congress accept lobbyist contributions?

money_lobbyingBy Hank Stephenson and Ben Giles | Arizona Capitol Tims

To ensure lobbyists don’t hold too much power over lawmakers’ actions, Arizona law strictly prohibits them from contributing to sitting legislators’ campaigns during a legislative session.

In the past, most lawmakers who ran for Congress have avoided the dilemma of whether they could or should accept money from lobbyists by simply resigning from the Legislature.

Election attorneys say the law is unclear, but point to a pair of Federal Elections Commission opinions indicating Arizona’s lobbyist contribution prohibition cannot apply to federal campaigns. The opinions state they are under the “sole jurisdiction” of federal law and the FEC. There is no federal ban on lobbyists contributing to congressional campaigns.


Related: Congressional fundraising: A sneak peek at who has the cash and who doesn’t

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