Campaign Finance & Election

Campaigns should be open and free, not prone to manipulation through government financing schemes. And now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.

<p>Campaigns should be open and free, not prone to manipulation through government financing schemes. And now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.</p>

Last week Senator Barack Obama announced that he will not take government money to support his presidential campaign. As he put it, the current system of financing drown[s] out the voices of the American people. Obama's choice will allow him to raise and spend as much as he can, letting his supporters be heard loud and clear this fall.

Is the ballot initiative process fundamentally at war with the foundation of American government? Unfortunately, the short answer is yes-unless the initiative process is reformed to limit government power.

Serious consideration is being given to a measure well worth its time, SCR 1009, bringing an end to public agency lobbyists. It accomplishes a simple goal: stopping government from using your money to lobby itself.

The only thing “overwhelming” about the vote was the silence of 900,000 Phoenicians who did not vote.

60,000 of a total adult population of about one million voted in favor of Phoenix’s seven bond issues this week. 

And yet, the Arizona Republic and Phoenix leaders called the vote a “resounding” and “overwhelming” victory for Mayor Phil Gordon, who now has now gotten the approval to spend some $2 billion of taxpayer money on a series of projects and the debt to pay for them.

What role should so-called special interests play in elections?  During a recent NPR roundtable, I argued that special interests are vital to ensuring the health of our democracy. 

Every four years, the Electoral College is attacked as an affront to genuine democracy. What typically starts as a low level complaint before the election eventually becomes a full-scale grievance. These attacks miss the point of the design of our Constitutional Republic.

The process of qualifying voter initiatives for the ballot has grown so anarchic that some likely will appear before voters that shouldn't, while at least one that probably should be on the ballot is not.

A republican form of government assumes that laws should be difficult to pass, and initiatives are no different. Our state Constitution mandates a large number of voter signatures to qualify a measure for the ballot.

The TIME initiative crumbled after a lawsuit proved its supporting signatures were rife with forgery and fraud. Normally that would be the end of the story, but the Arizona Capitol Times reports that both proponents and opponents of the initiative are now demanding reform.

In June I asked readers of the Goldwater Institute daily email to stay tuned for more information about how a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision would impact Arizona's Clean Elections system. Theres good news to report.
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Two weeks ago the Goldwater Institute filed a lawsuit challenging the matching funds provisions of Clean Elections. Last Friday Judge Roslyn Silver ruled that the Matching Funds provision of the [Clean Elections] Act violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it opens up new avenues for possible corruption in the electoral process.

In a state with subsidized elections and draconian limits on campaign contributions, every advantage counts. ­ One in particular is a whopper: self-promotion by elected officials at taxpayer expense.

The abuse is ubiquitous and transcends party lines. ­ Publications and public-service announcements that happen to prominently bear the name and likeness of an elected official are all too frequent.

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