Read this comprehensive report from Alyssa Newcomb of Cronkite News, about how some Arizona clean election candidates spent their campaign money:
What is the Citizens Clean Election Commission (CCEC):
The Citizens Clean Elections Act was passed by the people of Arizona in 1998 to level the playing field when it comes to running for office. The Act allows candidates, running for the Legislature or statewide offices the opportunity to forgo special interest money by collecting a certain number of $5 donations. In return, the candidate will receive full funding for their campaigns.
Excerpts from this Cronkite News report about Southern Arizona politicians and/or candidates in the recent 2010 elections:
“Cronkite News confirmed computer purchases through campaign finance reports or interviews with candidates. Some candidates who listed amounts paid to stores that offer computers as “miscellaneous” expenses didn’t return calls seeking comment:
– Gene Chewning, Independent, State Rep. District 27, Tucson
– Robert Compton, Republican, State Rep. District 27, Tucson”
Chewning was a candidate in LD 27 House, lost in the General, ran before for this House seat in 2006 as a Republican. Compton also ran for House in LD 27, lost in the General, and this was his first bid for public office.
Democratic Sen. Manuel V. Alvarez, who lost his re-election bid, said living in the small Cochise County town of Elfrida made hiring his family the easiest option. He paid three relatives a total of $2,759.99 to install signs, work on advertisements and consult.“In a town of 300, where are you going to find people to work for you and your campaign?” he asked.
State Senator “Manny” Alvarez (D) represents District 25, but lost in the General to Gail Griffin (R), who was not a Clean Elections candidate.
Eric Carbajal-Bustamante, a Tucson Democrat who lost in the primary, reported spending $385.59 on office supplies at IKEA, a furniture and furnishings store; and Ken Smalley, a Tucson Republican who lost in the general election, reported spending $229.87 on a “post-debate discussion” with staff members at T.G.I. Friday’s.“This is small stuff, talking about me taking the campaign staff out,” Smalley said. “Did you know you can spend up to $800 on equipment?”
Smalley’s campaign finance reports also noted that he spent $403.66 on a printer at OfficeMax.Carbajal-Bustamante didn’t respond to repeated phone messages.
Bustamante (D) lost a bid for LD 27 House in the primary, and Smalley (R) lost his bid for LD 28 House in the General. Bustamante ran before for LD 29 House in 2008, and Smalley has run before for Tucson City Council and Pima County Treasurer.
“Todd Lang, executive director of the Arizona CItizens Clean Elections Commission, says his staff doesn’t micromanage campaigns. However, he said the commission is aware of the tension between not wanting to interfere and keeping in mind that candidates are spending public money.”
I guess it would also be up to the Arizona voters to let the CCEC know what you think is appropriate campaign spending for these candidates, such as hiring their relatives. Apparently the candidates get to keep these laptops & other equipment they purchased.
How to contact the Citizens Clean Elections Commission in Phoenix:
877-631-8891 Toll Free (928 & 520 Area Codes)