Monday, June 27, 2011

Sen. Russell Pearce Cheers Demise of Matching Funds for Clean Elections, Even Though He Took the Maximum Amount in 2008 Campaign

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2011 at 2:59 PM

Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce cheers the U.S. Supreme Court decision to get rid of matching funds:


“The U.S. Supreme Court this morning ruled the matching funds provision of Arizona’s taxpayer-funded campaign finance system unconstitutional. This is a victory for Arizona and a victory for free speech. The Court rightly found that matching funds illegally discourages private candidates from raising and spending cash in elections.

The Court ruled that matching funds present a substantial burden to free speech rights. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote “the First Amendment embodies our choice as a nation that, when it comes to speech, the guiding principle is freedom—-the unfettered exchange of ideas—-not whatever the State may view as fair.”

It made no sense that as privately-funded candidates raised money for their campaigns, it triggered taxpayer subsidies for the opposing candidates. This was an experiment that failed, and now it has been ruled unconstitutional by the highest court in the land. Good riddance.

As much as Pearce says he dislikes matching funds, he appeared to have little trouble accepting the maximum available when he was running in a GOP primary in 2008. In that race, Pearce received $19,382 in initial public funding and an additional $38,764 in matching funds from Clean Elections. In total, he received more than $71,000 from Clean Elections, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Arizona Secretary of State's office.

You'd think a man of principle such as Russell Pearce, who is facing a recall effort in Legislative District 18, would not have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funding if he really believed it "illegally discourages private candidates from raising and spending cash in elections."

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