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