Clean Governor/Dirty Governor?

The name of Janet Napolitano, currently Governor of Arizona, has been circulated as a possible selection to head the Department of Homeland Security in the incoming Obama Administration. Governor Napolitano, of course, was a "clean elections" candidate, rejecting voluntary contributions from private citizens in favor of taxpayer dollars.

As a two-time "clean elections" candidate, Governor Napolitano of course has a long record of positive statements about the benefits of putting politicians on the dole. Here’s one example:

"…special interests had nothing to hold over me. I was lobbied heavily by all sides of [the prescription drug] issue. But I was able to create this program based on one and only one variable: the best interests of Arizona’s senior citizens… I think we all share an ideal vision in which elected officials come to their capitols free of the encumbrances of special interests."

            Web site of Public Campaign

Apparently, however, Governor Napolitano isn’t quite the anti-private-money-in-politics devotee that some might have thought. From an AP article written just the other day:

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, President-elect Barack Obama’s top pick for Homeland Security secretary, heads a fundraising committee that collected thousands of dollars from special interests and gave money to Democratic House campaigns nationwide for the fall elections.

Napolitano is honorary chairwoman of the Competitive Edge PAC, which took in at least $390,000 in the 2007-08 election cycle. Its fundraising includes about $315,000 from individuals and $65,500 from political action committees…

The PAC’s donations include $2,500 from Pinnacle West Capital Corp., a federal contractor whose Arizona Public Service Co. subsidiary operates the nation’s largest nuclear power plant, the Palo Verde complex in Arizona… APS is state and federally regulated.

Also giving [was] Level 3 Communications, a Colorado communications services company whose clients have included the Homeland Security Department’s Transportation Security Administration…

The PAC collected $5,000 from Greenberg Traurig, a nationwide law and lobbying firm that has lobbied Arizona’s state government for a variety of businesses.

Four Arizona Indian tribes with casinos contributed…  [two] gave $10,000 each [and two others] …each donated $5,000. The tribes’ casinos are regulated by the state and the federal government.

Several past and present Arizona lobbyists donated… [including] Broderick D. Johnson, a lobbyist and chairman of Bryan Cave Strategies. Johnson’s firm is an affiliate of Bryan Cave LLP, which has lobbied in Arizona….

The PAC was formed in mid-2007, about seven months after Napolitano won her second term. For her 2006 re-election bid, she turned away most private money in favor of about $1.5 million from Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Participating candidates may raise only limited individual donations and cannot take PAC money…

Competitive Edge has donated mostly to congressional candidates. It gave at least $49,000 to Democrats nationwide, including successful Senate candidates Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia, both former governors.

House candidates in at least 19 states received donations…

I wonder if Arizona’s taxpayers can get a refund on the millions of dollars they shoveled into Governor Napolitano’s campaign coffers in order to keep her from being "corrupted" by private contributions? I also wonder if Governor Napolitano is hoping to have a little "undue influence" with those elected members of Congress her PAC gave to – after all, that seems to be how she thinks PAC contributions work.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.