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Arizona legislators target campaign funding program again

PHOENIX — Some Arizona legislators again will be trying to put a
bull’s-eye on Clean Elections, the voter-approved state program that provides
funding for candidates for state offices.

Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, plans to reintroduce a proposal to gut the program
by asking voters to sweep all of the program’s money into K-12 schools, the
Arizona Capitol Times reported.

Meanwhile, Rep. J.D. Mesnard said he wants to introduce a resolution for a
ballot measure on repealing the program outright. However, the Chandler
Republican said he’ll go only so far if program opponents promise support for a
campaign aimed at persuading voters to go along.

“Anything that I throw out there and refer to the ballot, I would not let it
get all the way to the end of the process unless there was some agreement or
some idea that there’s going to be a campaign that’s going to be run in favor of
it,” Mesnard said.

Boyer tried a similar proposal last year. The House approved but it never came
up for a vote by the 30-member Senate because it lacked a required 16th vote for
passage, Boyer said.

Boyer said things may be different in 2014 because a recently appointed senator
may provide the 16th vote.

“In principle, I think that most conservatives don’t support publicly funded
elections,” Boyer said. “I got it out of the House. It was razor-thin in the

Boyer said it may be better if he and Mesnard can agree to push only one

“I’d really like to visit with him and see if we can just do one, because
obviously I don’t want voters to be confused on having both,” Boyer said.

Tom Collins, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission,
said the commission will try to fend off efforts to de-fund or eliminate the

Collins declined to predict the outcome, but he said the program remains
popular with voters.

“I don’t think it would be worth anybody’s time in this environment to put a
Clean Elections issue on the ballot,” Collins said.


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