Thursday, October 24, 2013

State appeals court blocks higher campaign contribution limits

...At least until the inevitable appeal by the Republican political leadership...

In a curiously-worded ruling, the Arizona Court of Appeals blocked the hugely increased campaign contribution limits passed by the legislature in HB2593.

At least, they're blocked for state-level candidates.

Under the provisions of HB2593, limits on individual contributions to a political candidate were raised from $450 (local and county races), $440 (legislative races), and $912 (statewide races) to $5000, and aggregate limits, the total that an individual may give to candidates and political committees that give to candidates went from $6390 to no limit.

The ruling from the Court is more than 30 pages long, but the "money" line (so to speak :) ) is the last one -
For the foregoing reasons, we vacate the superior court’s order denying preliminary injunctive relief in its entirety, remand to the superior court for it to reconsider Petitioners’ request for declaratory and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, and, pending its decision on remand, direct the superior court to maintain the preliminary injunction currently in effect enjoining the Secretary from enforcing or implementing the provisions of House Bill 2593 applicable to non-participating candidates for statewide and legislative office. 

I'm not a lawyer, so obtain the counsel of an actual attorney before accepting or giving campaign contributions, but that phrasing seems to set the campaign finance limits for state-level candidates to the previously-established lower numbers ($440 and $912 for legislative and statewide candidates, respectively) while leaving in place the looser limits, and non-limits, for local- and county-level candidates.

The Arizona Secretary of State's website already reflects this development -

This isn't over - an appeal by AZSOS Ken Bennett, AZ Senate President Andy Biggs, and AZ House Speaker Andy Tobin, the Rs fronting the higher limits, is likely.  Assuming they go for it, the next stop is the Arizona Supreme Court.

Stay tuned...

Mary Jo Pitzl of the Arizona Republic has coverage here.

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