Apparatchiks in Arizona

Posted on April 01, 2005
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The Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted last week to remove Rep. David Burnell Smith from office. He is accused of violating state law by exceeding the spending limit set by the clean elections commission. Representative Smith reported himself to the commission and claims accounting errors are to blame for overspending.

But the Arizona Constitution doesn't give the commission authority to remove elected officials from office.  Instead, the commission's actions illustrate the inherent flaw in a system where unaccountable bureaucrats decide what are legitimate campaigns and expenses.  No elected official is ultimately safe from the wrath of Soviet-style apparatchiks who decide which candidates to investigate and the penalties for those supposedly violating the law. 

A 2001 Goldwater Institute study illustrates that ideology and party affiliation are the most important voting factors for elected officials, not where they receive campaign contributions.  Also, if you accept the premise that politicians are beholden to those funding their campaigns, does that mean the clean election system encourages public officials to favor bigger and larger government?  If that's the case, it's another reason why the clean election system is inherently flawed.

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