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State Provision Could Mean Taxpayers Will Have to Pay if Recall Election Happens

Phoenix, AZ – The language says legislators must enact laws to run recall elections. And the state is already set to shell out about $150,000 for the special election. But lawmakers are also required to adopt -- quote -- provision for payment by the public treasure of the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officer. Pearce said Tuesday he was unaware of the constitutional section until told about it by Arizona Public Radio. And he said that, under normal circumstances, he would not take public funds for this campaign.

(But it's not something I created or caused. Randy Parraz and company are the ones that brought this on. Plus this special election's going to be a cost to the taxpayers that I feel bad about. All of this is unnecessary. We have an election every two years. If you don't like what I stand for, unelect me. Run against me in the regular election.)

Parraz is one of the organizers of the drive that gathered more than 10,000 valid signatures to force the special election. The constitution does not spell out what expenses would be considered reasonable. Pearce has his own idea.

(That's whatever it costs you, in all reality, in my opinion, unless you're doing silly things. Whatever it takes to defend yourself or to defend the office. I mean, if you're taking trips to Hawaii, that's not reasonable.

Pearce said his costs include more than just what he will spend on the high-profile campaign that has drawn national attention. There are also the legal bills being racked up by attorney Lisa Hauser who is trying to have all the petitions declared legally insufficient and get the election cancelled. It ultimately will be up to Pearce's colleagues in the Legislature to decide whether to pay any of his campaign and legal bills. And the constitution does not differentiate between public officials who survive a recall -- and those who do not. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.