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Clean elections provision upheld

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – A federal judge refused today to block a provision in the Clean
Elections law that gives matching funds to publicly financed
candidates when their privately financed foes spend more. Arizona
Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.

The provision is part of the 1998 law which gives a set amount of
public dollars to statewide and legislative candidates who do not
take private money. But there's also a provision which increases
that allocation if an opponent taking money from others spends
more than that amount. U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver
already has concluded the match is unconstitutional. But she will
not cut off those matches immediately. While Silver did not
explain her decision, she has questioned whether it would be fair
to candidates who agreed not to take private money to change the
rules in the middle of the election. But Nick Dranias, attorney
for the Goldwater Institute which is challenging the law, said
that argument holds no water.

(These are tested candidates, the ones that are subsidized.
They've gone through a primary. They've bought up all the
infrastructure that they need to run their general election. They
have only two or three weeks left in their general election to
continue to compete. They would have had their networks in place,
they would have had their volunteers in place. They would have
had their signs in place.)

Dranias said he does not know whether challengers will ask a
federal appeals court to intervene between now and the Nov. 4

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.