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Proposition 306 would alter Arizona’s Clean Elections funding system

This week, KTAR News 92.3 will highlight five ballot initiatives that will be on the Arizona ballot for the midterm elections next month. On Friday, KTAR News’ Mark Carlson will break down Proposition 306.

PHOENIX — There have been past attempts to abolish Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Proposition 306 would not do that, but if passed the measure would change the state’s system of public campaign financing.

Proposition 306 would prohibit Arizona candidates who use Clean Elections funding from transferring any campaign funds to a political party or any tax-exempt organization that attempts to influence elections.

It would also subject the commission to regulatory oversight.

Jonathan Paton, spokesman for Yes on Proposition 306 and a former Republican state lawmaker, said people are taking money and funding political parties in Arizona.

“We’re just changing what they just did in 2016, which was to change the rules to allow people who are receiving Clean Elections money of giving that money to the political parties,” Paton said.

Democratic political analyst Chris Herstam, who served in the state Legislature as a Republican, opposes Proposition 306.

“It will take away the rule-making authority of Clean Elections and put it in a gubernatorially appointed partisan body that will eventually neuter Clean Elections, and we will lose our publicly financed system,” he said.

Paton said we need better oversight of Clean Elections.

“This commission is unelected,” he said. “It’s appointed, and they have more power than the Legislature or the executive branch.

“They can fine and they can get rid of elected officials, without any oversight whatsoever.”

Herstam disagrees. He said the group in charge of oversight is already in place.

“The commission is appointed by bipartisan types,” he said. “Not only a governor, but also the majority and minority leaders in the Legislature.

“It’s a cross-section of the public.”

Republican state Rep. Vince Leach of Casa Grande is a backer of Proposition 306.

He said Clean Elections acts on its own.

“They’re not governed like other agencies, not subject to the regulations check,” he said.

“This process that we got through 306 will move them over into what everybody else has to put up with.”

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