AG says county’s political contributions ban violates 1st Amendment

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich /Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Local governments cannot stop their employees from donating to candidates for local offices, Attorney General Mark Brnovich concluded.

In a formal legal opinion, Brnovich said the no-donations policy put in place by Pima County supervisors nearly 30 years ago barring contributions to county candidates violates the First Amendment rights of workers.

The attorney general acknowledged that the purpose behind the policy was to ensure that there was no link between whether a worker donates and decisions by a supervisor around that employee’s status and salary. And Brnovich said that is a legitimate concern.

But in his 13-page opinion, he said there are less intrusive ways to achieve that goal than quashing the ability of county employees to contribute to candidates of their choice.

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