I must respond to remarks made by Rep. Rick Murphy in the June 5 edition of the Arizona Capitol Times. Murphy castigates Clean Elections as violating the First Amendment “matching funds” rights of candidates, independent groups and citizens – and says therefore it should be struck down.
In his most recent re-election campaign, he points out that he was massively outspent by his government-funded opponents. The rest of his remarks express all of his reasons for doing away with Clean Elections. In one short sentence at the end, he does admit that “when I first ran for office in 2004, I ran as a government-funded candidate because I felt I had no choice.”
This is hypocrisy at its greatest level. It’s OK for Murphy to use the Clean Elections route to get elected, but it’s not for anyone else. Upon taking office, one of the first bills he sponsored was to eliminate funding for Clean Elections.
Perhaps it should also be mentioned that Murphy was fined $10,000 by the Clean Elections Commission after a lengthy investigation into financial reporting irregularities after his first election.
During the 2004 primary, Murphy publicly accused me of being soft on crime, a big spender and liberal – all lies and half-truths. In fact, Speaker Jake Flake stopped by my office at 3 a.m. following final budget votes in 2004 to thank me for supporting House leadership on the budget. At the beginning of my second term in office, I was appointed by the speaker as chairman of the House Commerce and Military Affairs Committee. I gained the reputation of being an effective legislator and generally held in high regard by all those with whom I came in contact, on both sides of the aisle. I always felt that politics is the art of negotiation and compromise.
Murphy calls my attitude “sour grapes,” and he’s correct. If anyone should be in opposition to Clean Elections, it should be me. Murphy admits that he had limited financial support for his first run in 2004, and in all probability, would not have been elected without funding from Clean Elections.
- Former Rep. Phil Hanson, Peoria