‘Clean’ commission's foot-dragging has given Democrats an advantage - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

‘Clean’ commission's foot-dragging has given Democrats an advantage

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Posted: Thursday, October 21, 2004 9:15 pm | Updated: 5:42 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Both of these misfortunes lamented by The Bard's Danish prince have lately made themselves felt in the hotly contested race for the state House of Representatives in District 17 — in the person of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission.

Democratic Party organizations have been targeting Republican candidates in that race with political hit pieces — mailers accusing them of such wrongs as colluding with tobacco companies and legislative self-dealing. As these have been funded through sources outside the Democratic candidates' own allocations from the commission, the GOP candidates thus attacked have cried foul and applied to the commission for additional funding to counter them with their own material.

But the commission has been slow to act: only Wednesday did it approve some more funds for the Republicans. The targeted Republicans charge that the commission's foot-dragging has materially aided the Democrats by giving their attacks more time to go unanswered before the Nov. 2 election. Indeed, it may be too late.

Incredibly, the commission's executive director Colleen Connor has loftily declared that the Dems' hit pieces "do not substantially promote or advocate for their candidates."

This is disingenuous, to say the least. If the Democrats' material is undercutting the Republican candidates, by any sane process of logic of course it is promoting their own. To hamstring one side by running out the clock before allowing it the means to respond to extra-legally funded attacks by the other is evidence that the attackers have the system gamed.

Not for nothing did a Democratic Party spokeswoman state that "we are confident that the system works." For her side, it certainly has.

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