Supreme Court Takes New Campaign-Finance Brouhaha

Arizona law seeks to level playing field
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2010 5:51 PM CST
Supreme Court Takes New Campaign-Finance Brouhaha
In this April 9, 2010 file photo, the Supreme Court is seen in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

In a potential revisit to Citizens United, the Supreme Court will take on an Arizona law that tries to level the playing field in campaign spending, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Act provides state funding for candidates who agree to a certain spending limit—and more controversially, matching funds to participating candidates if non-participating candidates blow past a certain spending limit.

Challengers say the law "brazenly violates the First Amendment right of candidates to speak without having government put its thumb on the scale for their opponents.” But others say it achieves its stated goal of steering elections toward meaningful discourse and away from an attack-ad spendfest: "The Arizona Clean Elections system, in effect over a decade, helped move the state beyond egregious corruption and recurrent scandal,” says an NYU law professor. "It's constitutionally sound, and advances First Amendment values rather than burdening them.”
(Read more US Supreme Court stories.)

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