Monday, June 28, 2004

Liars in Arizona
As we've posted before (here on Feb 9 and here on Dec 23), the wealthy interests who previously bankrolled most candidate campaigns in Arizona are now bankrolling a ballot initiative to repeal the campaign finance law that is reducing the influence of big money in Arizona politics.

They say they want voters to decide if they still like the law that they themselves passed at the ballot in 1998. OK, fair enough. But, they should at least tell people what they are voting on.

The law is widely known as the Clean Elections law. It allows a candidate to go cold turkey on big campaign money -- completely forgoing all private campaign contributions after proving their viability by raising a large number of $5 qualifying contributions. It has allowed some new faces to get into office, faces that look more like regular Arizonan's than career politicians.

Here is a video tape of a petitioner asking somebody if they want to sign a petition to qualify a measure for the ballot that would effectively repeal the Clean Elections law by prohibiting any state money from funding the clean elections system.

Now, set aside the fact that the petitioner sounds drunk. The first problem is that he is telling the person only half the truth -- "This would prevent politicians from using taxpayer money to fund their campaigns." This is correct, but what he's not saying is that politicians that do this are prohibited from taking any money from special interests. When told that, many people conclude it's worth it.

But the bigger problem is that the petitioner then tells an outright lie. The potential signer asks if this would repeal the Clean Elections law, which he likes. The petitioner tells him no, "this is FOR clean elections." The kicker comes in the very last line, where he says "I wouldn't lie to you."


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