U.S. Supreme Court Hears Matching Funds Arguments. Decision Not Expected Until June

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The United States Supreme Court is listening to arguments today to determine whether Arizona's "Clean Elections" system violates the U.S. Constitution.

The system was a hot topic during last year's election cycle because several candidates -- including Governor Jan Brewer and former Treasurer Dean Martin -- were running as publicly funded, or "clean," candidates. The court decided in June to put a halt to the matching-funds section of the system until justices could rule on whether it infringed on a candidate's right to free speech.

Under the system, publicly funded candidates are given lump sums for their campaigns. If an opponent spends his or her own money, and exceeds the initial lump sum, "clean" -- or publicly funded -- candidates get matching funds from the government to level the playing field.

It was a big deal in the GOP gubernatorial primary because candidate Buz Mills was droppin' loads of cash into his campaign, which meant his opponents running as "clean" candidates were given matching public funds to fuel theirs.

In other words, candidates like Brewer and Martin could sit back and let Mills blow his wad on his campaign while they reaped the benefits -- on the taxpayers' dime.

Opponents of the matching-funds system say it violates a candidate's right to free speech. They say it inhibits a privately funded candidate's fundraising and spending, plus limits what voters will hear about the campaign because there's no incentive to raise and spend money on things like campaign ads.

At the time of the June ruling, a lawyer for the group spearheading the move to do away with it told New Times he believed the court would rule in his favor.  

"This ruling vindicates the right of traditionally funded candidates to run their campaigns without the heavy hand of government helping their opponents," Nick Dranias, lead attorney on the case for the Goldwater Institute, told New Times.

The court is expected to make its decision by the end of June.

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3 comments
linkiss
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ExpertShot
ExpertShot

The current Supreme Court is concerned primarily with increasing the subsidation of business in violation of the free-market principles of capitalism by which we prosper. Any decision having to do with increasing corporation's control over the purse-strings of our Nation (i.e., buying legislators) they will decide in favor of their corporate masters.

Please note: Corporations are NOT part of free-market capitalism - they ARE government subsidized and chartered entities which exist to shelter their owners from real responsibility for their illegal and immoral actions. Privately owned businesses and partnerships are the real source of capitalism theory and practice (Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith) NOT corporations. The abuse of real people by Corporations (e.g., East India Company) are the reason this country came into existence - to prevent taxation without representation.

The Tea Party of today turns the intent of our founding fathers on it's head!

XSoldier
XSoldier

Isn't this the same Goldwater Institute that wants to do away with the Coyotes?

Why is the U.S. Supreme Court wasting its time on this bullshit? I think the justices are getting sick and tired of Arizona always popping up on its docket. I'm sure the court has other things to do than intervene in every single case in Arizona.

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