DECEMBER 24, 2013

Arizona Supreme Court green lights higher campaign contribution limits

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STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – The Arizona Supreme Court said higher campaign contributions limits that were put on hold earlier this year are good to go.

After the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission challenged the law raising campaign contribution limits, Senate President Andy Biggs and House Speaker Andy Tobin immediately took up the effort to allow the law to go into effect.

Speaker of the House Andy Tobin welcomed the news and said that the new higher contribution limits enacted in House Bill 2593 will give candidates more control over their own campaigns, help offset the influence of “dark money” by outside spending groups, and create greater transparency in statewide and legislative elections.

Tobin acknowledged the efforts of all the members of the Legislature who have worked with him on the bill, and offered special thanks to Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, who sponsored the legislation.

“This case presented challenging legal issues,” Mesnard said. “Ultimately, the Court’s decision respects the role of elected officials while not diminishing the ability of Arizonans to enact new laws at the ballot.”

A trial judge initially upheld the new limits, allowing them to go into effect for a few weeks. But an injunction by the state Court of Appeals put limits back to their old levels.

Today the Supreme Court vacated the opinion by the Court of Appeals, which said that the Clean Elections Act pre-empted contribution limits for statewide and legislative candidates.

Before HB 2593, Arizona had some of the lowest candidate contribution levels in the country, according to a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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