Tuesday, February 22, 2005
The Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee has begun the process of destroying the state's successful voter-approved Clean Elections program.
On Monday, the Committee voted 5-3 to approve SCR 1026, which would defund the state's voluntary program of public financing for candidates for state office. SCR 1026 now goes to the full Senate. Once approved by the Senate and House, it will be on the 2006 ballot. **
Committee Vice Chairman Dean Martin said this about his vote against a level playing field for candidates of all backgrounds and income levels: "What I don't support is dirty, muckraking, dishonest elections using taxpayer money."
Well, Mr. Martin, by voting as you did, you have clearly indicated that what you do support is a system in which wealthy interests use their money to drown out the voices and candidacies of regular folks. The polite word for this kind of argument is disingenuous.
Those members of the Judiciary Committee who voted for SCR 1026 effectively stated their opposition to an equal opportunity for all citizens of Arizona to take part in the political process. In doing so, they also stated their opposition to the will of the citizens of Arizona, who voted the Clean Money program into existence. This is legislative arrogance. Let's hope that the people of Arizona vigorously reaffirm their will at the ballot box next fall.
In the original version of this post, I erroneously reported that once Clean Elections-killing SCR 1026 passed the Senate, it would be on the 2006 ballot. Bob Stern of the Center for Governmental Studies and Derek both point out to me that the bill must also pass the House before being put on the ballot. Thanks to Bob for his keen eye.