Thursday, January 21, 2010

Goldwater Institute: Judge Strikes Down Matching Funds Portion of Clean Elections

Calls provision unconstitutional
Phoenix--Today U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver ruled in favor of the Goldwater Institute and permanently struck down the matching funds provision of the Clean Elections law. Judge Silver gave the state five days to appeal the decision and seek further relief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the judgment becomes enforceable.

In the 23 page decision, Judge Silver ruled, "The Act, in its current form, is not supported by a compelling interest, is not narrowly tailored, and is not the least restrictive alternative. The Act is unconstitutional under the First Amendment."

"We hope the State will not appeal the injunction," said Goldwater Institute attorney Nick Dranias. "All along, the State has said the candidates need certainty, and they do. The system is unconstitutional and it's time for the state to protect free speech and follow the law."

The Goldwater Institute filed suit against Clean Elections in August 2008, arguing the matching funds provision violates the free speech rights of traditionally funded candidates by causing their campaign contributions and expenditures to trigger government subsidies to opposing publicly-funded candidates.

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