PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order on Wednesday that effectively ended all government contracts with lobbyists in Arizona.
The order terminated contracts with professional lobbyists at all state agencies, boards and commissions. It also took away the ability for them to enter into new contracts without permission from the Governor’s Office.
BREAKING: I’ve issued an Executive Order to stop public funds from paying professional contract lobbyists: https://t.co/F2R6p7sW0D
— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) June 29, 2016
The only exceptions to the order are other statewide-elected officials and the judicial branch.
“For too long, too many government entities have used public dollars to protect their own interests at the expense of taxpayers, small business people and regular citizens who can’t afford their own lobbyist,” Ducey said in a press release.
“Under this old system of cronyism, lobbyists get richer, special interests thrive and citizens foot the bill,” he continued.
The Governor’s Office said that about $1 million in public funding was used for lobbying in the past year. Even more was unaccounted for because of inconsistent reporting and a lack of accountability.
When Arizona’s 200 boards and commissions were surveyed about their use of lobbyists, more than 80 did not reply despite extended deadlines and multiple requests.
Now if a government entity wants to enter into a contract with a lobbyist it will have to submit proof that doing so is important for the “public health, safety and welfare of the state and the taxpayers.”
The Governor’s Office warned that any request will be “heavily scrutinized.”