Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or Independent, it is safe to say most people would be aghast at the idea of their tax dollars being used to fund political parties.

Yet that is exactly what the Clean Elections Commission has been permitting for years.

In 1998 Arizona created a new program called Clean Elections, which allows politicians to receive taxpayer money in order to run for office.  Candidates who decide to participate in the Clean Elections system must collect a certain number of $5 individual contributions to qualify for taxpayer funding.

Therefore, it was shocking to see several taxpayer-funded candidates writing large checks from their campaign accounts to political parties.  Many of these candidates were running in uncompetitive districts, and some ran “ghost” campaigns where there was little evidence that they were even trying to win.  When it was all said and done, over $100,000 in taxpayer money was paid to political parties in 2016.

It is pretty obvious that the taxpayer money being funneled to political parties was payback for helping candidates qualify for clean election dollars. It is wrong and must be stopped.

There was an effort in 2017 to end the practice, but after defeating legislation at the capitol, the Clean Elections Commission promised to address the issue through rulemaking.

Instead, Clean Elections passed a rule CODIFYING the practice, sending a direct signal to candidates that it’s OK to send their funding to political machines.  Even more astonishing was that their expanded commission rule now allows for taxpayer money to go to special interest non-profit organizations as well, such as the NRA, Sierra Club and labor unions.

Luckily, voters will get the opportunity to put a stop to this nonsense.  A measure is now on the ballot this November that will ask voters if they want to continue to fork over their hard-earned money to political parties and special interest non-profits.

We are hopeful the answer will be a resounding YES to Stop Taxpayer Money going to Political Parties.