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AAPS v. Brewer

This case is the sixth challenge to Arizona’s optional system of full public financing for people seeking state office.

Published: May 1, 2008

AAPS v. Brewer
Campaign Finance Reform

This case was the sixth challenge to the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act, which established an optional system of full public financing for people seeking state office. This time, opponents focused on the matching funds provisions and related requirements.

One plaintiff alleged that the Act unconstitutionally neutralizes the independent spenders voice by allowing candidates that the Association opposes to fund a response with matching funds. The candidates who challenged the Act complained that, notwithstanding their having opted out of the public funding program, the contribution limits, reporting requirements, and matching funds provisions unconstitutionally compel them to opt in.  See plaintiffs’ complaint.

The Center, together with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, represented Intervenors in defense of the law. On March 10, 2005, the Court granted Intervenors motion to dismiss the case, which disposed of the challenge in its entirety. The plaintiffs then appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The Brennan Center’s brief was filed on September 6, 2005.

The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on February 12, 2007.  To listen to the argument, visit the Audio Files section of the Ninth Circuit’s website and enter 05–15630 in the space for the case number.

On May 10, 2007, the Ninth Circuit issued a unanimous opinion dismissing the appeals as moot, leaving the publicly-funded election system in place.