The AP reports this morning that Arizona’s Citizens Clean Elections Commission is considering tossing a state legislator out of office, thereby nullifying the will of a majority of voters in his district. If removed, this would be the second case in which the Citizens Clean Elections Commission has removed a legislator from office.
From the article:
A state legislator is accused of illegally and secretly augmenting his public campaign funding with private cash to pay an election consultant. With the consultant saying it’s true and the legislator denying it, a state official says “someone is lying.”
The outcome of the case pending before the state Citizens Clean Elections Commission will decide whether Rep. Doug Quelland, R-Phoenix, is ousted from his state House seat and face hefty fines.
As is to be expected in such cases, many of the facts are hotly disputed and even the members of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission acknowledge that this is a difficult case:
…the case is “as clear as mud,” Commissioner Jeff Fairman said at the conclusion of a three-hour meeting Thursday during which the commission was scheduled to act on the allegations.
“I agree it’s a mess,” said Commissioner Louis Hoffman. “Clearly someone is lying here.”
…commissioners said they were troubled by the conflicting testimony they and their investigators heard…
“Everything is a mess,” said Commissioner Lori Daniels, a former legislator.
Ultimately, an appointed commission will have the authority to decide whether Doug Quelland is suited to sit in the Arizona legislature. I always thought that responsibility rested with voters, but I guess under so-called clean elections programs that’s not the case.
Something to ponder for those considering the Fair Elections Now Act, which would do institute a similar taxpayer bailout of politicians.