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Arizona Clean Elections Commission v. Bennett

Arizona Clean Elections Commission v. Bennett

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Published by arizonaspolitics
Arizona Supreme Court decision in Clean Elections v. Bennett, permitting higher campaign contribution limits to go into effect, eliminating some aggregate limits
Arizona Supreme Court decision in Clean Elections v. Bennett, permitting higher campaign contribution limits to go into effect, eliminating some aggregate limits

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Published by: arizonaspolitics on Apr 02, 2014
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07/29/2014

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 IN
 
THE
S
UPREME
C
OURT OF THE
S
TATE OF
A
RIZONA
 A
RIZONA
C
ITIZENS
C
LEAN
E
LECTIONS
C
OMMISSION
 ; L
OUIS
 J.
 
H
OFFMAN
 ;
 
V
ICTORIA
S
TEELE
 ;
 
A
RIZONA
A
DVOCACY
N
ETWORK
 ,
 
Petitioners, v.
T
HE
H
ONORABLE
M
ARK
H.
 
B
RAIN
 ,
 
 J
UDGE OF THE
S
UPERIOR
C
OURT OF THE
S
TATE OF
A
RIZONA
 ,
 IN AND FOR THE
C
OUNTY OF
M
ARICOPA
 ,
Respondent Judge,
K
EN
B
ENNETT
 ,
 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
S
ECRETARY OF
S
TATE
 ; A
NDY
B
IGGS
 ,
 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
P
RESIDENT OF THE
A
RIZONA
S
TATE
S
ENATE
 ;
 
A
NDREW
M.
 
T
OBIN
 ,
 IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS
S
PEAKER OF THE
A
RIZONA
H
OUSE OF
R
EPRESENTATIVES
 ,
Real Parties in Interest.
No. CV-13-0341-PR Filed April 2, 2014 Special Action from the Superior Court in Maricopa County The Honorable Mark H. Brain, Judge No. CV2013-010338
AFFIRMED
Opinion of the Court of Appeals, Division One 233 Ariz. 230, 311 P.3d 1093 (App. 2013)
VACATED
COUNSEL:  Joseph A. Kanefield (argued), Brunn W. Roysden III, Ballard Spahr LLP, Phoenix, for Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission Mary R. O’Grady, Timothy J. Eckstein, Christina C. Rubalcava, Osborn Maledon, Phoenix; and Timothy M. Hogan, Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, Phoenix, for Louis J. Hoffman, Victoria Steele, and Arizona Advocacy Network
 
ARIZONA
 
CITIZENS
 
CLEAN
 
ELECTIONS
 
COMMISSION
 V
.
 
BRAIN
 
(BENNETT) Opinion of the Court 2 Richard Rice, Acting Attorney General, David Weinzweig, Senior Litigation Counsel, Daniel P. Schaack (argued), Assistant Attorney General, Phoenix, for Ken Bennett Michael T. Liburdi (argued), Kelly A. Kszywienski, Snell & Wilmer LLP, Phoenix; Gregrey G. Jernigan, Office of the President, Arizona State Senate, Phoenix; Peter A. Gentala, Pele Peacock, Office of the Speaker, Arizona House of Representatives, Phoenix, for Andy Biggs and Andrew M. Tobin Andrew S. Gordon, Roopali H. Desai, Melissa A. Soliz, Coppersmith Brockelman PLC, Phoenix, for Amici Curiae Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, et al.  James E. Barton II, Torres Law Group, PLLC, Tempe, for Amici Curiae League of Women Voters, et al. Paul V. Avelar, Timothy D. Keller, Institute for Justice, Tempe, for Amicus Curiae Institute for Justice  JUSTICE
 
TIMMER authored the opinion of the Court, in which JUSTICE
 
PELANDER and JUSTICE
 
BRUTINEL
 
 joined. VICE CHIEF JUSTICE BALES, joined by CHIEF JUSTICE BERCH, dissented.  JUSTICE
 
TIMMER, opinion of the Court:
¶1
 
In 1998, Arizona voters enacted the Citizens Clean Elections Act to establish public funding for political candidates in statewide and state legislative elections. The Act prohibits a candidate who opts not to receive public funding from accepting contributions greater than eighty percent of the campaign contribution limits specified in A.R.S. § 16-905. The issue here is whether the Act fixes campaign contribution limits at eighty percent of the amounts that existed in 1998 or instead provides a formula for calculating limits. We hold that the Act provides a formula for calculating contribution limits.
 
ARIZONA
 
CITIZENS
 
CLEAN
 
ELECTIONS
 
COMMISSION
 V
.
 
BRAIN
 
(BENNETT) Opinion of the Court 3
I. BACKGROUND ¶2
 
Both Arizona voters and the legislature have taken an active role in developing campaign financing laws. In 1986, voters enacted by initiative A.R.S. § 16-905, which established campaign contribution limits for state, county, and local elected officials. The legislature amended § 16-905 in 1993, 1994, 1997, and 2007 to increase those limits. 1993 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 226, § 4 (1st Reg. Sess.); 1994 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 379, § 2 (2d Reg. Sess.); 1997 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 201, § 6 (1st Reg. Sess.); 2007 Ariz. Sess. Laws, ch. 277, § 1 (1st Reg. Sess.).
¶3
 
In 1998, voters passed an initiative to create the Citizens Clean Elections Act, A.R.S. §§ 16-940 to -961 (“CCEA” or “Act”), which established an alternative campaign financing system for primary and general elections and created the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to administer it. Under this system, candidates for statewide and state legislative offices who agree to limit fundraising and campaign spending (“participating candidates”) receive public campaign financing. Eligible candidates who choose not to participate (“nonparticipating candidates”) can accept private campaign contributions up to eighty percent of the limits established by A.R.S. § 16-905(A)–(E), as adjusted periodically for inflation. A.R.S. § 16-941(B). In an apparent effort to “level the playing field,” the Act also originally provided that once expenditures by or on behalf of a nonparticipating candidate exceeded a publicly funded opponent’s initial funding allotment, that opponent would be given roughly one dollar for every additional dollar spent by or on behalf of the nonparticipating candidate, capped at three times the initial public funding allotment.
1
 A.R.S. § 16-952 (1998);
see Bennett
, 131 S. Ct. at 2813. Candidates for countywide and municipal offices are not eligible to participate in the Clean Elections system.
¶4
 
In 1998, the voters also passed another initiative, unrelated to the CCEA, which adopted the Voter Protection Act (“VPA”). Ariz.
1
 The United States Supreme Court invalidated this “matching funds scheme” because it violated the First Amendment by substantially burdening protected political speech without serving a compelling state interest.
 Ariz. Free Enter. Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett
, 131 S. Ct. 2806, 2813 (2011).

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