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Appeals court hears arguments over Clean Elections

Three U.S. Court of Appeals judges in San Francisco listened to arguments Monday over a lawsuit challenging whether matching funds provided through Arizona’s Clean Elections law are constitutional.

Attorney Bradley Phillips, representing Clean Elections advocates, said the program helps prevent corruption in the elections process by assuring that candidates don’t have to be beholden to private interest groups.

The opposition led by Goldwater Institute attorney Nick Dranias said that matching funds should be looked at as a fine against the nonparticipating candidate for spending campaign money.

Clean Elections candidates collect a certain number of $5 donations from constituents and agree not to accept money from special interest groups in exchange for a lump sum of public money to fund their campaigns.

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