February 11, 2010 By Mark Flatten
The Goldwater Institute Watchdog Report is a periodic publication intended to identify government corruption and waste and to hold politicians and public agencies accountable to taxpayers.
Clean Elections Agency Spends Millions Promoting Itself
As the matching funds portion of Arizona's Clean Elections law dangles by a legal thread, the state agency that hands taxpayer funds to political candidates is preparing to spend more than $2 million to convince voters and legislators it is doing a good job.
ballotThe Citizens Clean Elections Commission recently approved a budget that allocates $2 million for public relations and advertising, and another $78,000 for an outside lobbyist. That is in addition to the $2.9 million the agency will spend to print and distribute voter education pamphlets and to host candidate debates.
Spending so much money on a public relations campaign to tout the state agency is a waste, said Lori Daniels, the lone member of the five-person commission to vote against the spending plan. Daniels said the expenditure is particularly excessive as the state struggles to close a shortfall of around $1.5 billion in the current fiscal year.
"I think we should have a bare-bones budget this year because that's exactly what the state is doing," said Daniels. Commissioners "are spending more on the PR and advertising than is required by law. Right now, I feel like the state is in such a crunch that we just need to tighten our belts as much as we possibly can. And they feel like they've already done that."
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Mark FlattenMark Flatten is an investigative reporter for the Goldwater Institute.
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