Election Director's Opinion Violates Constitution
Pearce Requests Attorney General Opinion
Matt Tolman, Chairman of “Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011,” disagrees with State Election Director Amy Bjelland's opinion that does not allow corporate and union contributions. Tolman says: "This State opinion violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as it has been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court. The Court's opinion clearly states that corporate and union contributions to a campaign are legal."
The Secretary of State's Office has concluded that corporate and union donations are not allowed under Arizona campaign finance laws.
Attorneys from the “Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011” Committee fully disagree with the conclusion reached by the State Election Director. Therefore the attorneys are seeking an Attorney General opinion to clarify the issue.
Attorney for “Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011,” Lisa Hauser, said:
"The U.S. Supreme Court most recently said that corporations and unions cannot be prohibited from making expenditures to advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. It previously held that corporate and union contributions to issue committees cannot be prohibited under the First Amendment. Arizona law still prohibits direct corporate and union contributions to candidate committees. But a recall committee is not a candidate committee – it is an issue committee. It cannot be treated as if it is a candidate committee."
State Senator Russell Pearce formally requested an opinion on corporate donations in a letter sent today to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.
The opinion request is further asking about the application of certain financial disclosure statutes related to recall elections. “Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011” is following those laws although the Secretary of State's Office suggests that a recall committee need not give 24 hour notice of its large contributions.
The pro-recall committee has released no financial disclosure information and claims that they don't have to report anything until January 2012 “Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011” intends to keep providing notice.
The Committee may still choose clarification through the Court system.
In the meantime, the Committee is not accepting any corporate donations. It is assumed that our opponent committee will also immediately do the same and return corporate and union contributions.
(NOTE: Matt Tolman is available to schedule Spanish-speaking interviews.)
Paid for by Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall RC-04-2011
Senator Pearce Letter Requesting Attorney General Opinion