Deal would change Clean Elections

March 23, 2012

There’s a deal in the works at the state capitol that would make changes to the state’s system of publicly funded political campaigns, in exchange for not asking voters to essentially gut it. From Phoenix, KJZZ’s Mark Brodie reports.

MARK BRODIE: Critics of the Clean Elections system were poised to ask voters in November to ban public money for political campaigns - a move supporters say would undermine the law. But, instead, the sides appear to have agreed to a compromise that would allay some of critics’ concerns. Republican State Senator John McComish has been involved in the talks. He sponsored the proposal to ask voters to ban public money, and says had it gone to the ballot, there’s no guarantee it would have been successful, but it would have been expensive.

JOHN MCCOMISH: We get removed some of the areas that we found most problematic about the Clean Elections laws that exist now, and politics is the art of compromise, and if you’re almost satisfied, that’s probably a pretty good deal.

BRODIE: Among the proposed changes to the clean elections system is a limit on how the Citizens Clean Elections Commission could market itself. The commission does have a public education component, but would no longer be allowed to promote the benefits of the law. Also, the deal would eliminate the $5 check-off box on Arizona income tax forms. Clean Elections Commission Executive Director Todd Lang says he can live with that.

TODD LANG: Even though we think the program is better the way it is now, when you have someone willing to get rid of the law that you’re required to administer, then sometimes you settle and you try to work out an agreement.

BRODIE: Both Lang and McComish expect lawmakers to take up the compromise this year. It would need the approval of 3/4 of both the state house and senate, since it’d be changing a voter approved measure. If that happens, the changes would go into effect for this year’s elections.

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