On October 15, the Arizona State Court of Appeals, Division One, suspended the higher contribution limits passed by the 2013 session of the legislature. The court acted only two hours after hearing oral arguments. There is no opinion yet.
The lawsuit is Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission v Brain, 1 CA-SA 13-0239. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission runs the state’s public funding program, and it opposes the new higher contribution limits because it believes that higher campaign contribution limits will motivate candidates to ignore the public funding program. The Commission argued that the Arizona Constitution requires changes to the public funding program can only take effect if 3/4ths of the legislators approve them. The 2013 bill, raising the contribution limits, did not get enough support in the legislature to meet that standard. The legislature, on the other hand, argues that the contribution limits are not really part of the public funding law.
The 2013 bill raised the maximum donation to a legislative candidate from $440 to $4,000. The legislature and the Secretary of State will probably ask the State Supreme Court to overturn the State Court of Appeals. Some 2014 candidates have already received some contributions that are in excess of the old limits. Thanks to Rick Hasen for this news.