Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Associated Press notes that today's Supreme Court ruling lifting restrictions on campaign funding will have a big effect on Arizona races:
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday apparently means companies and labor unions can spend to influence Arizona elections for public offices, a state official said.
Arizona law now prohibits business and corporate spending in state candidate races. But it seems those prohibitions cannot now be enforced because the Supreme Court ruling said similar federal prohibitions violate the Constitution's free speech protections, Election Director Amy Bjelland said.
"The First Amendment covers us no matter where we are. It trumps state law," agreed Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign, a Washington-based public campaign funding advocacy group. "There are some big kahunas that now can be active in your campaigns."
This has an even bigger impact now if the courts uphold U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver's ruling forbidding matching funds for Clean Elections candidates. If that's the case, running as a Clean Elections candidate, at least for statewide office, would be political suicide.