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Push for transparency focuses on campaign spending, gift giving (access required)

In the wake of two of Arizona’s biggest political shake-ups of last year, lawmakers are hoping a little sunshine will help clean up the mess.

Shadowy groups involved in the recall of then-Senate President Russell Pearce brought to light some of the flaws in the current financial disclosure requirements. Meanwhile, the Fiesta Bowl scandal brought to light ethical questions about what should be considered a gift from a lobbyist.

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Panel: Toss one-year wait for lawmakers to become Capitol lobbyists

A state House committee Tuesday narrowly endorsed scrapping a state law the prevents legislators from serving as paid lobbyists at the Capitol for a year after leaving office.

Its author, Rep. Jack W. Harper, R-Surprise, said the moratorium is intended to keep lawmakers from influencing legislation but fails to recognize that staff members are even better positioned to become lobbyists. He said it’s unfair to deny former lawmakers the same opportunities allowed for staff members.

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Montgomery: Lawmakers ‘screwed up’ but no prosecutions (access required)

Bad legal advice and confusing and conflicting lobbying statutes allowed 16 current and former lawmakers who accepted football tickets and other gifts from the Fiesta Bowl to avoid criminal charges.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said today that after an eight-month probe he can’t prove whether any of the lawmakers “knowingly” failed to disclose trips they took at Fiesta Bowl expense and game tickets they received.

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County attorney wants lobbying laws overhauled after Fiesta Bowl scandal

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who is wrapping up an eight-month investigation into the Fiesta Bowl scandal, will ask lawmakers to overhaul the state’s lobbying laws, saying financial reporting requirements are confusing and out of touch with what he believes the public demands of its elected officials.

“If it’s too much of a burden for an elected official to keep the public informed … they shouldn’t be in office,” the county’s top prosecutor told the Arizona Capitol Times. “If you don’t want to do this, then go do something else.”

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One shy of a six-pack

The secretary of state’s lobbying records this week showed that a Donald “D.J.” Shooter recently registered as a lobbyist for the departments of Financial Institutions and Real Estate.

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Secretary of State: Lobbying statutes don’t apply to IRC, but they should (access required)

The Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday dismissed a complaint alleging that the state’s redistricting commission was being illegally lobbied by a group with ties to Republican politicians.

The state’s elections officials threw the complaint out because they said Arizona’s lobbying laws don’t apply to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. But in their dismissal letter, those same elections officials said they believe the laws should be changed so they do apply.

And that could happen as early as next year, said Amy Bjelland, the Secretary of State’s election director.

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