Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act filed with secretary of state’s office

The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act was filed with the Secretary of State’s office April 12 to give everyday people a bigger voice in politics by strengthening the Clean Elections system and increasing transparency and accountability in local elections, according to a press release issued by the Secretary of State’s Office. Signature gathering for the initiative will begin immediately.

“For years, lawmakers and their special interest backers have attacked commonsense regulations to reduce the influence of big money in our elections at the expense of Arizonans unable to write big checks,” said Samantha Pstross, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network and chair of the new initiative, in the release. “The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act will give power to everyday people by strengthening Clean Elections, increasing transparency and reducing the influence of lobbyists in the state capitol.”

The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act has four main components, according to the release:

  1. Strengthen Clean Elections. The initiative is intended to allow ordinary people with good ideas and support from their community to run for office without the support of big money donors and lobbyists. Clean Elections candidates would be encouraged to build a large base of small donors, with donations under $160 matched on a six-to-one basis, up to a limit.
  2. Increase disclosure of secret money in elections. This initiative is intended to increase transparency in elections by requiring outside groups to disclose their big money donors.
  3. Reduce the influence of wealthy special interests. Contributions to candidates who don’t participate in Clean Elections would be reduced dramatically, with stiff penalties for violating the rules. Large government contractors with business before the state would be barred from influencing the process by making contributions to candidates and parties.
  4. Reduce the influence of lobbyists. The initiative is intended to close the gift ban loophole that allows lobbyists to pay for lawmakers’ trips and travel and slow the revolving door by doubling the “cooling off” period for elected officials who wish to become lobbyists.

“Arizonans deserve clean, transparent elections that reduce the influence of big money and empower everyday people,” said Ms. Pstross. “We look forward to building support around the state for this important effort.”

More information about the Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act, including a website and endorsers, will be available in the coming weeks.

 

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