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Constitutional Law Keyed to Chemerinsky
Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom PAC v. Bennett
Citation:564 U.S. 721 (2011)
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The Arizona Clean Elections Act established public financing rules for state elections. Under the law, the candidates could opt-in to the program and receive additional money from the state when they collected a certain number of $5 donations from voters and complied with other requirements. Once a spending limit was exceeded, a publicly financed candidate could receive one dollar for every one dollar spent by an opposing, privately financed candidate who did not opt-in to the program. The law also increased contribution and spending limits for publicly funded candidates.
The law was passed in 1998, and in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in Davis v. Federal Election Commission (2008) that giving public advantages to opponents of candidates that spent $350,000 or more of their own money was unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
The PAC here argued that the Clean Elections Act was unconstitutional under the same logic as Davis: the law had a chilling effect on speech because it sought to equalize funding. The State argued that the system deterred corruption by increasing transparency and limiting the influence of interest groups.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
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