State asks court to keep elections commission from enforcing certain campaign laws

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

An attorney for the state asked the Arizona Court of Appeals to block the Citizens Clean Elections Commission from enforcing certain laws that regulate how much candidates and others can spend on campaigns.

Tim Berg told the judges on Wednesday that the Republican-controlled Legislature was within its power in 2016 in crafting exceptions to campaign finance laws. He said the changes were not directly part of the Clean Elections Act which voters enacted in 1998.

But commission attorney Joseph Roth said that the 2016 alterations violated the Voter Protection Act, which bars legislators from tinkering with what voters have enacted, because it effectively nullified what voters had approved because of the way lawmakers crafted the proposal. And that, he said, unconstitutionally undermined the intent of the 1998 law, which was designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.

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