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Constitutional Challenge to Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act

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By FindLaw Staff on May 21, 2010 5:58 PM

McComish v. Bennett, No. 10-15165, involved a challenge to the constitutionality of the "matching funds" provision of Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for plaintiff, on the ground that the Act survived intermediate scrutiny because it bore a substantial relation to the State's important interest in reducing quid pro quo political corruption.

As the court wrote:  "This is a challenge to the constitutionality of the "matching funds" provision of Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 16-952. The Act establishes a legal framework within which the State of Arizona may provide public
financing to candidates for state political offices. A candidate who chooses to participate in the Act's voluntary public financing scheme relinquishes her or his right to raise private campaign contributions. Instead, she or he receives an initial grant of funds from the state to spend on her or his campaign. The challenged provision ensures that if the participating candidate has an opponent who is not participating in the public financing system and whose campaign expenditures or contributions exceed a threshold set by the Act, she or he receives
additional matching funds from the State."

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