Commission Modernizes Rules.
The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission Thursday instituted new regulations clarifying and modernizing the process for candidates who participate in the Clean Elections funding program and make purchases from political parties and political consultants.
“Clean Elections funding must be used for campaign expenditures directly related to candidates own campaigns. The regulations approved on July 20 ensure that candidates continue to demonstrate that their expenditures for consulting and similar services from political parties are appropriately documented, that campaign mail literature is provided to the Commission in real time, and that lump sum payments are prohibited,” said Tom Collins, the Commission’s Executive Director. “Clean Elections has always prohibited candidates from using Clean Elections funds to subsidize parties and political consultants.”
The Commission voted to impose the new requirements on participating candidate expenditures to political consultants and political parties.
The amendments, which apply to parties and other consultants, are part of an ongoing effort to improve and reform the Commission’s rules. Candidates who participate in Clean Elections Funding forgo special interest contributions in favor of smaller donations, principally from Arizona voters who reside in their district or the state.
The Clean Elections Fund, a dedicated funding source created by voters, is supported by surcharges on criminal fines and fees. No money for Clean Elections comes from the general fund, which pays for schools and other state needs.
“The voters recognize that the Clean Elections System requires dedicated funding and that is why they created the fund,” Collins said.
Commission continues to take public input and modernize policies.
“Many voters are worried that more special interest money, often from undisclosed sources, is flowing into Arizona elections,” Collins said “Clean Elections Funding breaks the link between dollars and political favors by focusing on voter and candidate participation.”
The modernization of the rules is ongoing. Already, the Commission has approved rules requiring audits of all statewide participating candidates. A pending measure to require audits of all participating legislative candidates is currently open to public comment. Audits of all transactions with political parties will be part of the auditing process going forward, Collins said.
“The goal here is to provide more transparency for voters while at the same time fighting corruption, as voters intended,” he said. “The Commission balanced candidates’ ability to make choices in how they run their campaigns within the strict confines of the Act.”
The proposals were developed after Rep. Vince Leach, R- Saddlebrooke, raised the issue at the legislature.
“I want to thank Mr. Leach for raising the issue and ensuring Clean Elections is stronger and more effective in fighting corruption in Arizona politics,” Collins said.
The Clean Elections System is a comprehensive voter-centered program that involves Clean Elections funding, independent campaign finance law enforcement and voter education. The program is administered by a five-member board consisting of two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent, appointed by Governor Doug Ducey and elected Democratic leaders.