The Phoenix New Times published its list of the “10 Worst Ideas of the Decade” over the holiday break, and — no surprise — Arizona’s system of taxpayer handouts to political candidates makes the list:
8. Clean Elections. Okay, so voters approved this “reform” in the late 90s. But it’s only in this decade that publicly funded elections have taken root here. And boy, have the results been lousy. Nearly $15 million in surcharges and court fees go into this fund every year — and the best we have to show for it are a bunch of morons down at the Capitol. Sigh.
A lawsuit challenging the system is still pending in federal court, but a judge has preliminarily ruled that the “rescue funds” provision of the program is unconstitutional. The Center for Competitive Politics filed an amicus brief in the case, McComish v. Bennett.