The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission instituted new rules Thursday that will allow candidates, who participate in the Clean Elections funding program to funnel money to political parties and political consultants. The rule allows Clean Elections candidates, who receive and spend public money, to make payments to political parties for “vague items,” according to House Republicans, such as “consulting” and undefined “services rendered.”
House Republicans attempted to close a loophole through HB2403, a bill that would have prohibited Clean Elections candidates from contributing public funds to political parties, but legislation amending Clean Elections laws requires a three-fourths vote. Democrats defeated the measure, arguing that the Clean Elections Commission would close the loophole on its own.
Tom Collins, the Commission’s executive director stated the new rule “balanced candidates’ ability to make choices in how they run their campaigns within the strict confines of the Act.”
Arizona Speaker of the House J.D. Mesnard stated in a press release, “You’d be hard-pressed to find many voters who believe that political parties are entitled to public money, yet that’s essentially what the Clean Elections Commission just allowed. This validates one of the many concerns those of us had who believed creation of the Commission would likely lead to abuse of taxpayer money. Public money will likely become a conduit for funding the political parties. It’s a baffling decision for a commission struggling to maintain relevance. Perhaps the voters should have another look.”
Arizona State Representative Bob Thorpe stated, “Clean elections rules do not allow a candidate to transfer money to another candidate, and yet that is exactly what happened last year when numerous Democrats money-laundered over $112,000 of public money to their party’s coffers, which it then used for other campaigns.
Information from Arizona Daily Independent