Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lobbyist Shakedown Bill -- takin' it to court

Last week, attorneys for Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Arizona Advocacy Network, Louis J. Hoffman (a current member of the Clean Elections Commission and one of the drafters of the original Clean Elections Amendment), and state Rep. Victoria Steele filed a petition for Special Action in the Arizona Supreme Court challenging HB2593. The bill, titled "Campaign finance; contribution limits" is much more fairly referred to as the Lobbyist Shakedown Act.

HB2593 was approved in the senate on a 17-13 straight party line vote. In the House, five members were not present for the vote, but for those present it passed on a party line vote (all AYE votes from Republicans, all Democrats present voted NAY, one Republican also voted NAY).

The essence of the bill is that limits Arizona voters imposed on lawmakers' lawful ability to raise campaign funds from anyone (this is what empowers lobbyists to obtain favor from elected lawmakers) were all but obliterated.

How Republicans in Arizona are STILL able to get away with obscuring this issue, despite the very common knowledge of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" sometimes puzzles me. Not only is it common sense and common knowledge but it has been proven scientifically by academic research. Arizona State professor emeritus Robert Cialdini first published his seminal book, "Influence" in 1984. Cialdini's work makes it impossible to legitimately refute the fact that allowing lobbyists to buy favor with elected officials is a scourge on American government at all levels.

Nevertheless, the Arizona Supreme Court today declined to take original jurisdiction in this lawsuit. Mary O'Grady, counsel for plaintiff Louis Hoffman, this afternoon said she has no information on what action will be taken now on this matter.

However, it appears a logic next step (or Plan B, if you will) would be to file the petition in Maricopa County Superior Court. Today's action by the Supreme Court likely makes it more difficult to obtain an injunction preventing the relaxed campaign contribution limits from going into effect on the general effective date for legislation passed in the Spring 2012 legislative session (September 12).

I will try to keep my ear to the ground for developments in this matter.


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