Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Lobbyist Shakedown Bill challenge goes to Appeals Court

Since last week Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain declined to issue a preliminary injunction to prevent the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill from taking effect, plaintiffs (Citizens Clean Elections Commission, Arizona Advocacy Network, Louis Hoffman and Rep. Victoria Steele) in the case filed a Petition for Special Action in the Arizona Court of Appeals today.
This Petition for Special Action seeks expedited review of the trial court’s order denying Petitioners’ request for preliminary injunctive relief. Legislature through its enactment of House Bill 2593 dramatically increased the campaign contribution limits for statewide and legislative candidates in violation of the Voter Protection Act. [...]
Petitioners asked the Maricopa County Superior Court to preliminarily enjoin HB 2593 to preserve the status quo before the law’s September 13, 2013 effective date, which the court denied on September 12, 2013. In doing so, the trial court eschewed binding precedent from this Court and the Arizona Supreme Court that compel the conclusion that HB 2593 unconstitutionally amended and superseded [A.R.S.] § 16-941(B)*. The court focused on a novel and demonstrably incorrect proposition—based on a “Game Theory” not raised by any party—that overturned the results of the 1998 election and contravenes the Arizona Constitution. The court’s ruling finds no support in the record or the law. Immediate reversal and the granting of an injunction is the appropriate remedy. [...]
The petition concludes:
To grant preliminary injunctive relief, Arizona law requires that Petitioners demonstrate “either (1) probable success on the merits and the possibility of irreparable harm, or (2) the presence of serious questions and [that] the balance of hardships tip[s] sharply in favor of the moving party.” Smith, 212 Ariz. at 411, 132 P.3d at 1191 (emphasis added). Though clearing one of those hurdles is sufficient, Petitioners clear both. Petitioners accordingly request that the Court reverse the trial court ruling and preliminarily (and, if appropriate, permanently) enjoin HB 2593’s effect.
Petitioners (plaintiffs) requested expedited consideration and Court Clerk Ruth Willingham signed an order indicating a three-judge Appeals Court panel will consider the petition, either in conference or during oral arguments (yet to be determined whether oral arguments will be heard) on the afternoon of October 9. If Secretary of State Ken Bennett or Sen. Andy Biggs or Speaker Andy Tobin wish to file briefs opposing the petition, they must do so by the end of this month. If they do so file, petitioners/plaintiffs then have five business days to file a reply.

By the way, Judge Brain also denied motions by two individuals and one political committee (Goldwater Institute) to intervene as defendants in the case.

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* NOTE, A.R.S § 16-941(B) reads:
Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a nonparticipating candidate shall not accept contributions in excess of an amount that is twenty per cent less than the limits specified in section 16-905, subsections A through E, as adjusted by the secretary of state pursuant to section 16-905, subsection H. Any violation of this subsection shall be subject to the civil penalties and procedures set forth in section 16-905, subsections J through M and section 16-924.
When used in statutes like this, "notwithstanding any law to the contrary..." means the language which follows takes precedence over ANY statute or session law in effect already or that the legislature tries to enact that conflicts with it.

Of course, the GOP dominated Arizona Legislature wants what it wants (in this case, to shakedown lobbyists for obscene amounts of campaign cash) and has demonstrated most heartily that it doesn't care what the voters of Arizona think, do or mandate in the way of citizen initiatives. That is why they spend so damn much money on litigation trying to get under, over, around or through what the PEOPLE of Arizona have mandated by way of direct democracy.

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