Court Of Appeals: Campaign Donation Limits Are Legal

November 05, 2013

An attorney for Republican interests wants the Arizona Supreme Court to allow higher campaign donation limits to take effect while arguments over their legality are taking place. The Court of Appeals has ruled the limits lawmakers approved earlier this year appear to be illegal. Attorney Mike Liburdi is appealing and arguing to the state Supreme Court there would be irreparable harm to legislative candidates if they are not allowed to accept up to $4,000 from individuals and political action committees, instead of the previous $440 limit.

 “Time is of the essence,” Liburdi said. “You effectively have a matter of months, a matter of weeks to be able to raise money before the legislative session begins. And this is for incumbents. Once that session begins they need to focus on their legislative duties.”

But Tom Collins, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, says candidates can already raise as much as they want, as long as it doesn’t come from a single source. He says that’s what voters said they wanted when they passed campaign limits in 1986.

 “Along with direct contributions to candidates comes corruption or appearance of corruption,” Collins said. “The notion of preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption is how you could ensure the public gets a system that works.”

Unless the Supreme Court intercedes, the lower donation limits will remain in place for the time being.