Second, in our series on the state propositions, please review Proposition 306. This is a legislative referendum (meaning it was authored by the legislature and placed on the ballot). It purports to prohibit candidates who use the Clean Elections campaign funding system from giving any of their Clean Elections funding to a political party.
However, that is misleading. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) already set very clear rules last year about what candidates can purchase from a political party –it must be something of demonstrable value, and not just a pass-through to the party. However, if this passes, the non-Clean candidates will continue passing money to their parties.
The sales pitch of the pro-306 forces is that we don’t want to give “taxpayer money to politicians.” Of course, CCEC funding does not come from taxpayer dollars. It comes from a fee on parking tickets and the very $5 contributions that the candidates are required to collect.
Moreover, this proposition is designed to remove the very independence from the CCEC, which was baked-in from its creation by the voters in 1998. It was originally designed so that politicians could not easily influence it. If we pass this proposition, we will give rule-making oversight of the CCEC to the governor’s office directly, through the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.
This means that the Governor and Legislature, which has hated the CCEC since it was created, and which recently hates that the CCEC has begun to uncover Dark Money in political spending, will be able to tailor the rules of the CCEC such that it becomes an empty shell.
Its a Trojan Horse. Nobody likes the idea of “giving money to politicians”. But what this is really about is effectively shutting down a commission who’s job is to clean up politics in Arizona.
Whether you like Clean Elections or now, its important to be aware of the other dynamics in this proposition.
Our goal is to present information that most folks may not see in the press. Obviously we (mostly Ken, since he’s a policy nerd) have a bias. We all do. So, we encourage you to see both sides of the argument in the publicity pamphlet at this link. See Pg 156 for Ken’s “against” argument.
Next month: The death of the truly “public” initiative.