Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett

In 1998, Arizona enacted the “Clean Elections Act” via ballot initiative. The law is a statewide tax financing program for political candidates. This case challenges the “matching funds” aspect of the Act. Under “matching funds,” a candidate who opts into the tax financing system will receive extra government subsidies if they face a privately-funded opponent who spends beyond a certain “trigger.” Independent spending in a race outside the control of candidates also triggers additional government subsidies.

Petitioners challenge the case under Davis v. Federal Election Commission, where the Supreme Court held that campaign finance schemes designed to level the playing field between candidates did not serve a compelling state interest.

In Jan. 2010, the U.S. Court for the District of Arizona ruled that the “matching funds” provision of the Act was unconstitutional and prohibited the state from distributing “matching funds” in 2010 campaigns. Arizona appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and that court reversed the district court’s ruling.

On Nov. 29, 2010 the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would hear oral arguments on the case and consider the appeal.

Court Filings & Rulings
Proposed Order
CCP Amicus Brief – U.S. Court of the District of Arizona
CCP Amicus Brief – Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
CCP Amicus Brief – U.S. Supreme Court (cert.)
Phoenix New Times: 10 Worst Ideas of the Decade Phoenix Business Journal: Business lobbyists pushing Clean Elections repeal

AP: Ariz. voters could be asked to gut Clean Elections

Arizona Capitol Times: Senate tackles Clean Elections during busy floor session
Arizona Republic: Campaign-influence changes eyed Capitol Media Services: Public financing of elections all but dead

Online & Blogs

CCP: Deconstructing the SCOTUS tax financing case
CCP: Death by a thousand orders for tax finanincing in Ariz.
CCP: Rescue Funds ruled unconstitutional in Arizona
CCP: Lawmakers iffy on ‘clean elections’ in Arizona
Press Releases
CCP files brief challenging ‘matching funds’ provision in Arizona
CCP files brief in Ariz. campaign finance case

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