- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - Secretary of State Michele Reagan is asking a regulatory panel to rescind rules from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission that she says infringe on her authority.

State Elections Director Eric Spencer asked the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council to rescind rules that the commission enacted in each of the past three years The Arizona Capitol Times reports (https://bit.ly/1mQwmgT). The request comes after a years-long legal battle with the commission over the rule that could force so-called “dark money” groups to register with the state as political committees.

“The Clean Elections Commission is no doubt well-intentioned, but has been operating as if immune from oversight during this period of regulatory mission creep,” Spencer wrote. “Accordingly, this Council stands as the final check against the Clean Elections Commission’s regulatory overreach. Indeed, this is why the Council was created in the first place.”

The Secretary of State’s Office wants the governor’s council to intervene under a 2012 law that allows it to demand that an agency amend or repeal a rule if it determines the rule is “materially flawed.”

At a Jan. 5 meeting, the council tabled Spencer’s request. The council will likely revisit the issue at its Feb. 2 meeting, according to Arizona Department of Administration spokeswoman Megan Rose.

Reagan’s office is also asking the governor’s council to rescind a 2013 rule imposing fines against independent groups that fail to file timely campaign finance reports.

Clean Elections Executive Director Tom Collins says the council lacks the authority to oversee its rules based on the Voter Protection Act, which requires three-fourths of the Legislature to vote to amend a voter-approved law.

“Applying the portion of the 2012 legislation that gives GRRC authority to require rule amendments and repeals would violate the VPA because it does not further the purpose of the Clean Elections Act,” Collins wrote in a Dec. 17 email to council staff attorney Chris Kleminich. “It undermines the Commission’s independent rule-making process that the voters approved by giving authority over Commission rules to another agency.”

Spencer said Collins’ arguments about the Voter Protection Act are invalid because the commission’s rule is based on statutes that fall exclusively under the authority of the Secretary of State’s Office, not the Clean Elections Act.


Information from: Arizona Capitol Times, https://www.arizonacapitoltimes.com

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