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Goldwater Institute Sues Clean Elections Commission Over Advertising

The Goldwater Institute wants the Clean Elections Commission to stop an advertising campaign it claims is illegal self promotion.  The think tank filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court  this week claiming Clean Elections does not have the authority to spend millions on voter outreach.  From Phoenix. KJZZ’s Paul Atkinson reports.

You may have heard or seen one of the advertisements…

TV ADVERTISEMENT  “Clean Elections, everybody wins…"

 In its lawsuit, Goldwater Institute attorney Carrie Ann Sitren cites the Clean Election Commission’s own marketing plan that says it ‘Needs to raise its profile and begin laying the groundwork to counter charges that the system doesn’t work.’

CARRIE ANN SITREN “The commission can not spend taxpayer money on an advertising campaign to promote itself. This is lobbying with taxpayer dollars and the commission has no authority to do that.”

The lawsuit also alleges Clean Elections advertising is an illegal attempt to influence the outcome of an election.  Lawmakers had approved a 2012 referendum prohibiting the public funding of campaigns.  But a judge found it violated the law last month.  Todd Lang is the executive director of Clean Elections.

TODD LANG  “What they are trying to do is bootstrap our opposition to bills and our legislative work to somehow our education plan—or our voter education out there in the media – to have anything to do with the repeal.”

The Clean Elections lawsuit asks for the repayment of what the Goldwater Institute calls “illegal public expenditures” by state officers who approved them as well as fines and penalties.  For KJZZ, I’m Paul Atkinson