The Citizens Clean Elections Commission claims they care about keeping special interests out of the political process by providing candidates with taxpayer funds to run for office.
But as was discovered in 2016 election cycle, politicians and political operatives know how to cheat the system and the unaccountable Clean Elections Commission just doesn’t seem to care.
An examination of campaign finance reports filed by publicly funded Clean Election Candidates in 2018 show over $100,000 being funneled to the state, county and local political parties, as well as to other political operations such as the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC).
As was the case in prior elections, the democratic candidates running in the least competitive legislative districts are the biggest contributors to these electioneering efforts.
One of the worst offenders is candidate Lynsey Robinson from conservative legislative district 12 in the East Valley. She gave a staggering $22,590 to the Democratic Party Operations, which is over 50 percent of the total amount she receives from Clean Elections! If her intention was to win her race, sending over half her money to the Party seems like a poor strategy to do so.
Other giveaways to political groups include:
$21,442 from Jo Craycraft, candidate for Senate in LD 1
$18,980 from Hazel Chandler, candidate for House in LD 20
$18,500 from Chris Gilfillan, candidate for House in LD 20
$14,170 from Mark Manoil, candidate for State Treasurer
$12,400 from Kiana Sears, candidate for the Corporation Commission
$9,520 from Kathy Hoffman, candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction
Interestingly enough, the largest benefactor of these public funds was the ADLCC, a Political Action Committee chaired by legislative democrats to elect democrats around the state of Arizona. Traditionally, victory PACs such as this provide money and support to candidates—they don’t receive money from them. This is because committees such as this fundraise for the express purpose of playing in election races. However, they do so independently of any candidate because it is against the law for organizations and PACs to coordinate with candidates on their election activities.
That makes the expenditure to the ADLCC even more suspicious. Either a candidate is giving them money to use in other more competitive races (which is wrong and must be stopped), or they are giving them money to provide services to their campaign (which is likely illegal.) Either way, the ADLCC’s taxpayer gravy train is an offensive abuse of the system and should be stopped immediately.
The unaccountable Clean Elections Commission has made it clear that they don’t care how our money is wasted, which is why voters must vote YES on Proposition 306. Prop 306 would prohibit candidates from funneling taxpayer funds to political parties and political special interest groups. If there was any question that the exploitation of the system would continue and proliferate – this year’s election season proves otherwise.
Voters should put an end to it by Voting Yes on Prop 306.
Today the Free Enterprise Club released our Judicial Retention recommendations for the 2018 ballot. Under Arizona’s merit selection system, judges periodically appear on the ballot for voters to determine if they should be retained. A ‘YES’ vote retains the judge, a ‘NO’ vote removes the judge from the bench. All of the judges that the Club recommends for retention have met Judicial Performance standards to remain on the bench.
Arizona Supreme Court
Justice Clint Bolick—YES
Justice John Pelander—YES
Arizona Court of Appeals
Maricopa Superior Court
Arizona Proposition 306, Clean Election Account Uses and Commission Rulemaking Measure
In 1998, 51.19% of Arizona voters approved Proposition 200. Its passage created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC), with the intent of creating a public financing system for political campaigns. Unfortunately, the past 20 years have shown that Proposition 200 and the CCEC do not do enough to protect Arizona taxpayers and honor the spirit under which the Clean Elections Act was formed. Because of this, an Arizona representative introduced prop 306.
What Is Proposition 306?
Formally known as Arizona Proposition 306, the Stop Taxpayer Money for Political Parties act has two key provisions:
- Prohibit candidates that receive public financing for their political campaigns to contribute to either political parties or to 501(c) special interest groups that engage in electioneering;
- It requires that CCEC rules are approved by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC). The GRRC reviews Arizona regulations to ensure that they are necessary and that they avoid duplication and adverse impact on the public.
Why Was Proposition 306 Introduced?
In 2016, it was discovered that many Democratic party candidates that received funding from Clean Elections paid more than $100,000 to the Democratic party. This abuse only increased the clout and influence of political parties in Arizona and showed the public why we need the changes that will result from a yes vote on Proposition 306.
These types of actions have been allowed to occur over the past 20 years because the CCEC has no real accountability. It is a politically appointed commission (comprised of two Republicans, two Democrats, and one Independent), and is the only state agency exempted from the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.
Prop 306 wants to increase transparency because right now there is nothing that requires the Citizens Clean Elections Committee to follow the same rulemaking process as every other state agency. If voters approve this ballot measure, the CCEC will have to follow an expanded public comment and hearing process. Therefore, every new proposed rule will be reviewed by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council or the Attorney General to ensure they are lawful and constitutional.
Who Introduced Prop 306?
Representative Doug Coleman (R-16) introduced the proposal to the state legislature, with the House voting 34-25 to place the measure on the ballot, with the Senate voting 17-12 (all votes went along party lines, with Republicans supporting and Democrats opposing.) The main opposition was the Clean Elections Commission, which has shown little interest in addressing the abuse of their program because they are seemingly opposed to any additional oversight.
Why Do We Need Proposition 306?
We need prop 306 because no government entity should have the unfettered political power that the Citizens Clean Election Commission enjoys. Prop 306 introduces much-needed regulatory oversight into the body’s rule-making procedure. It also brings the spirit of the commission back to the original intent of Arizona voters. It can help ensure public funds go to candidates, not political parties or outside groups that may seek to influence elections.
If prop 306 is not passed, it is likely that the current abuse of the system by political parties and special interest groups may increase in the future.
Who Supports Prop 306?
Every Republican lawmaker in the House and Senate.
In response to the abuse of candidates funneling money to political parties, Stop Taxpayer Money for Political Parties was formed. It is a group supported by Arizona citizens that oppose taxpayer funding of political parties and support keeping Clean Elections – clean.
Learn More About Proposition 306 Online & The Propositions Supporters
You can learn more about the supporters of prop 306 by visiting their Facebook Page, or reading more about the proposition on their website (voteyesprop306.com).
Prop 306 has also been publicly supported by these organizations:
- Americans for Prosperity, a grassroots advocacy group
- Arizona Free Enterprise Club
- East Valley Chamber of Commerce
Arguments for Prop 306
In the words of Rep. John Allen (R-15):
“…the parties are going to go out and recruit people who have no real interest, people to run in districts where they can’t win (because) the tide is against them party-wise – get them on the ballot, collect the $5 forms, and then take the maximum amount they can and funnel it somewhere else.”
Rep. Allen is referring to the fact that candidates may enter races in districts where they have no chance of winning. They have no chance of winning but they enter because they will still get the maximum allocation from the CCEC. The party not in power in that district may choose to run candidates because they want to raise more CCEC funds for the party.
How does it work? Instead of spending those taxpayer dollars on that race, the candidate simply signs over the funds to his or her party. The political party then determines how best to use the money. This may or may not be what the taxpayers originally wanted their money to be spent on.
If there’s any doubt that this happens, this argument from Rep. Mark Finchem (R-11) should remove those doubts:
“In 2016, it was discovered that several clean election candidates had contributed over $100,000 to the State Democratic Party. This was an obvious abuse of the system and opens up the possibility that both state parties could look to place candidates on the ballot for the sole purpose of providing clean election funds to the party.”
In the words of Mark Finchem, Representative LD11, Oro Valley
“NO MORE TAXPAYER MONEY FOR POLITICAL PARTIES!
Proposition 306 is a common-sense measure that would prevent your taxpayer dollars from being funneled to political parties and most importantly, it will help ensure donors know where the money they donate goes.
Prop 306 will do the following
1) prohibit participating candidates from contributing their Clean Election funds to political parties
2) prohibit participating candidates from contributing their Clean Election funds to non-profit organizations, such as social welfare groups and labor unions and
3) require the Clean Elections Commission to follow the rule-making requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act, a standard that applies to other federal and state government agencies.
He went on to say
Under Arizona’s so-called Clean Elections system, politicians are given taxpayer money to run for office. By collecting a small number of $5 contributions from individual voters, Clean Elections candidates can qualify for much larger amounts of taxpayer money for their
campaigns. Unfortunately, the Clean Elections Commission has allowed politicians to turn around and give that taxpayer money to their political parties.
In 2016, over $100,000 in taxpayer money was given to political parties through the Clean Elections system. In some cases, candidates ran in districts in which they had no real opposition, and once they qualified for taxpayer money, they turned that money over to their political machines to create slush funds for use in other districts.
The Clean Elections Commission has also allowed citizens to give taxpayer money to non-profit organizations such as the NRA, the Sierra Club, and labor unions! Independents should be especially appalled by these abuses. But the same is true for people of
any party who don’t trust political party machines. It is time to end this corrupt and unethical use
of taxpayer money…”
Arizonans Should be Outraged
Independents should be shocked by the current system and the abuse. But the same is true for all Arizonans of any party.
Statistics show that Arizona voters do not trust political parties therefore, we must change the current system. It is time to end this dishonest and unethical abuse.
Why Should I Vote Yes on Prop 306? Because it’s the Right Thing to do!
Voting Yes on Proposition 306 will prohibit candidates who receive public campaign funding from transferring the funds from their campaign to a political party or 501(c)(4) organization. This alone will help ensure that taxpayers will not unknowingly give money to something that may try to influence Arizona’s elections. As it stands today, a taxpayer can unknowingly contribute to something they oppose without ever knowing it. Vote yes on prop 306 because a yes vote creates regulatory oversight of the Citizens Clean Election Commission. The Clean Election Commission will receive the same oversight that is called for by the formal rulemaking process outlined by the Administrative Procedures Act.
Prop. 306: Clean Elections; Unlawful Contributions; Rulemaking. It’s that simple.
Please join the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (www.afpaz.com) in voting YES on Prop 306.
Learn more about Proposition 306
Proposition 306, Related to the Citizens of Clean Elections Act (Full Text)
Arizona Prop. 306: Voters undecided on clean elections measure
Proposition 126 is arguably the most difficult proposition to contend with on the November ballot for conservatives.
On the one hand, the initiative shuts the door on a potential tax grab in the future – taxes on services. It creates predictability for businesses in the service industry. And it is finally an example of a citizen’s ballot initiative that curbs taxes rather than doggedly seeks to increase them permanently.
Yet, Governor Ducey, the Maricopa Republican Party and taxpayer watchdog organizations such as Americans for Prosperity and The Arizona Free Enterprise Club are urging their bases to vote ‘No’ on Prop 126.
Why? Not because they want to see services taxed in the future…
Limitations on Taxation Should be Broad-Based and Inclusive
One of the core arguments in favor of Prop 126 is taxpayers should support any measure that prevents future tax increases. Though this is a laudable goal, the problem with this strategy is that when those limitations are narrowly targeted to benefit a particular group, it leaves everyone else exposed to future tax hikes.
That is the fundamental flaw with this service tax initiative. If stopping future service taxes is a good idea, why not apply the prohibition to the entire tax base? Fortunately, we already have a broad-based solution on the books—Proposition 108. Approved by voters in 1992, this constitutional amendment requires any tax increase by the legislature have a 2/3 vote, including taxes on services. If there is a concern of future tax hikes, then a better approach would be to clarify and expand this taxpayer protection rather than creating a new one.
Prop 126 Impedes Comprehensive Tax Reform and Actually Threatens More Tax Increases
Our organization is unapologetically in favor of eliminating the state’s income tax in the future. A mountain of research exists demonstrating states without an income tax and with a lower income tax burden consistently economically outperform states with an income tax or a high-income tax burden.
If Prop 126 passes, it increases the likelihood that we will have to become MORE DEPENDENT on income and property taxes in the future. The reason for this is because our current sales tax base built on taxing goods is shrinking. When our current tax code was shaped over 80 years ago, services made up only a small fraction of our economy. Now it is approximately half and is expected to become a larger share throughout the next century. If the current sales tax base continues to erode, the only option will be higher taxes on our income and property.
How We Cut Taxes Matters
Just as important as ensuring Arizona has as low a tax burden as is possible, is the method by which we craft tax policy. Prop 126 is a Constitutional Amendment that if passed by the voters, could not be changed, tweaked or amended without sending it back to the ballot box.
Simply put, rifle-shotting tax policy into Arizona’s constitution is not how a representative government should function. A more prudent method of governance is the legislative process. The initiative process gives voters a binary choice: vote for this specific policy or reject it. The legislative process in contrast, allows for changes, compromises and inherent checks.
Also, although the citizens’ initiative process was contemplated as a separate and coequal branch of the government and a check on the legislative branch – what it is today is far from that. Rather than initiatives being reflective of the “will of the people” they are banked rolled and run by the machines of special interest groups – Prop 126 is no different.
The Economy Changes, and so Should the Tax Code
The evolution of technology and therefore our economy necessitates changes to our tax code. The revolution in transportation technology on the horizon will dramatically change our economy.
It is conceivable that as ride sharing becomes so affordable and autonomous cars so efficient, that transportation becomes another great commodity by which people subscribe to a monthly service and opt out of purchasing their own car.
Self-driving cars and affordable ride-sharing services has already created a huge disruption in the automotive industry. Most cities in Arizona rely heavily on sales tax and of those revenues a huge portion consists of the taxes generated from car sales.
Car ownership is already in decline, especially among younger generations who are opting out of even getting a driver’s license. Predicting what this phenomenon will look like in 10 years, let alone 50 years is impossible.
Arizonans Could Seriously Regret Passing Prop 126 in the Future.
Despite its ostensible appeal, the actual benefits to Arizona taxpayers’ if they pass Prop 126 are superficial. Yet the manifold downsides are deep, long-lasting and may even create the opposite effect of what many voters wish to accomplish with its passage. For these reasons we encourage voters to take a second look at Prop 126 and Vote No.
Phoenix, AZ (October 15th, 2018) – Today the Arizona Free Enterprise Club announced its final slate of endorsements for the General Election.
The endorsed candidates represent individuals who align with the organization’s principles and key policy goals. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “It is critical Arizona has leaders and policy makers who are able to articulate and stand up for free market principles and pro-growth policies. This slate of candidates has proven they can and will.”
Additionally, the Club has endorsed the two Arizona Supreme Court Justices up for retention this year. “Justices Bolick and Pelander have been independent Justices and have consistently ruled to uphold the Constitution and textually interpret the law. That’s exactly why Arizonans should retain them on the judicial bench.”
Arizona Supreme Court Retention
Justice Clint Bolick
Justice John Pelander
Secretary of State
Nora Ellen LD 17 House
David Gowan LD 14 Senate
Michelle Ugenti-Rita LD 23 Senate
Jay Lawrence LD 23 House
John Kavanagh LD 23 House
Doyel Shamely LD 7 House
Walt Blackman LD 6 House
Leo Biasiucci LD 5 House
Maricopa County Community College School Board
Kathleen Winn (at large)
Debi Vandenboom – District 3
Jean McGrath – District 4
The rest of the Club’s endorsements for 2018 can be viewed at https://www.azfree.org/club-candidates/