Match Game: Judge Rules Against Portion of Clean Elections Program

Opponents of Arizona’s Clean Elections system won a big round in court last week when federal Judge Roslyn Silver said that the campaign-finance program’s matching-funds provision could be unconstitutional.

In a case brought by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of various GOP candidates, Silver didn’t rule against the Clean Elections system itself, which provides qualifying candidates for state office with campaign dollars.

But Silver said the Goldwater Institute folks have a point when they say that giving some candidates more money if their privately funded opponents break certain spending limits could violate the First Amendment.

For example, most candidates for the Arizona Legislature get $12,921 if they can collect 220 $5 contributions for residents of their district. But if a traditionally funded candidate spends more money than that, then Clean Election gives participating candidates a dollar-for-dollar match. The match tops out at three times the original Clean Elections funding for the campaign.

That leads to some privately funded candidates getting hosed. We’ve reported in recent week on the twists in the four-way GOP primary in Legislative District 30, which pitted two Clean Elections candidates, Sharon Collins and David Gowan, against two candidates who were raising money from private contributors—Doug Sposito and Frank Antenori.

By raising a respectable amount of money and lending his campaign $12,000, Sposito was able to spend Continue reading


Scramblewatch Q&A: Republican Doug Sposito on Higher Ed

Doug Sposito is one of four Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked him some questions on education policy.

Should the state provide more funding for universities?


Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for in-state students?

Not for in-state tuition.

Should the Board of Regents increase tuition for out-of-state students?

I think that the out-of-state tuition should be market based.

Should tuition money be used to provide financial aid for low-income students?


Was it a good idea for the Legislature to allow the Board of Regents to borrow more than a billion dollars for capital projects, with the expectation that the bonds could be paid back through lottery proceeds?

No, first off they didn’t identify specific projects, they just sort of laid out that they wanted a billion dollars. That’s an example of when borrowing money did not get us through the commitments we had. Borrowing that money was simply to expand and this is not the time to be expanding.

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Doug Sposito on Crime

Doug Sposito is one of the four Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked him some questions of crime policy.

Should we increase state funding for prison construction?


Should we have more contracts with private prisons?

I think that the privatization of prisons can also work.

Should we spend more on programs that provide prisoners with vocational education while they are behind bars?

I think that’s about right about now.

Should we look at alternatives to imprisonment for non-violent offenders?

I think that we already do tha
t and our programs are pretty effective, but I also trust our county and city attorneys who are putting people behind bars that need to be behind bars.

Do you support “hate crimes” legislation that increases penalties for crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability or sexual orientation?

I have trouble with hate crimes altogether. I mean, if someone beats up a guy and Continue reading

Frank Talk: Antenori’s Response to GOP Activist Pete Davis

Republican Frank Antenori, who is seeking a seat in Legislative District 30, asked that we post his full letter responding to GOP activist Pete Davis’ denouncement of him following our report on fundraising in Legislative District 30.

I certainly miss spoke in some of my comments to the Tucson Weekly. Between the contorted public funding mechanisms of campaigns here in Arizona and my passionate opposition to weakening of the Employer’s Sanction Law, I let frustration take over. I should have never let that happen, and rest assured it won’t happen again.

I also should have left David and Sharon out of what is clearly a policy disagreement between me and the other candidate.  I have spoken with both of them privately and apologized for my poor choice of words.

It would have been nice to have Mr. Davis on my side and I hope we can settle our differences so he may some day reconsider supporting my candidacy.

It is precisely because I do have a moral compass that I am passionately dedicated to ending what is clearly the exploitation of people entering our country illegally.

The draw from illegal jobs, offered by unscrupulous employers Continue reading

Following the Money in Antenori/Sposito/Collins/Gowan LD30 Four-Way

A few weeks back, we mentioned that Republican Frank Antenori went on a bit of a rampage against his fellow GOP candidates in Legislative District 30.

Antenori was angry that fellow Republican Doug Sposito and his supporters were spending so much money that the Clean Elections candidates in the race—Sharon Collins and David Gowan—were getting a windfall in matching funds. As of last week, Gowan had received more than $38,000, while Collins had more than $32K.

Meanwhile, Antenori has been struggling to raise private funds. His most recent report, filed last week, shows that he had collected just $15,669 for his campaign and had less than $2,200 left in the bank.

Antenori said Sposito had “obviously sold out” to Maricopa-based special interests that want to water down the employer-sanctions law with Stop Illegal Hiring, a ballot proposition that was originally launched to counter a more draconian employer-sanctions initiative that was being pushed by state Rep. Russell Pearce and his idiot pal, Don Goldwater. Those knotheads failed to make the ballot and are now complaining that Stop Illegal Hiring, which is supported by a group called Wake Up Arizona, will water down the current state law.

Sposito, who supports Stop Illegal Hiring, told us that a July fundraising event in Phoenix sponsored by supporters of Wake Up Arizona only raised him about $2,500. The big influx on money had come from his own pocket; he’d loaned his campaign $12,000.

The latest campaign finance reports, filed last week, show that of the $27,785 that Sposito had raised in the latest period, about $4,700 came from a variety of lawyers, lobbyists and other contributors in the Phoenix area, although he says not all of it came as a result of the July event.

“The Phoenix fundraiser netted me exactly $2,015,” Sposito says. “The rest has been from people mailing me contributions—hearing about my campaign, reading about it in the newspapers and checks are coming in.”

The names of the heavy hitters with Wake Up Arizona, such as McDonald’s magnate Mac Magruder and political consultant Nathan Sproul, do not appear as contributors.

Antenori now says he “would not believe that Doug would be stupid enough to accept contributions from those kinds of controversial individuals because it would crush him.”

Sposito has received a $390 check from auto dealer Jim Click, who is also part of Wake Up Arizona. But so has Antenori, although he downplays its significance.

“If Click wanted to give me money, I’d be sitting on about $40,000 in cash right now,” Antenori says. “So he sends me a $390 check—I didn’t get a check from his wife, his kids, his uncle, his cousins, all these other folks. … And that’s just so he can say, ‘Yeah, I support Frank.’ Evidently, Continue reading

ScrambleWatch Q&A: Republican Doug Sposito on the Environment

Doug Sposito is one of the four Republican candidates running for the open seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked him some questions about environmental policy.

Do you support allowing some state trust land to be set aside for conservation without payment to the trust?

No, because it’s in the state constitution that the trust will be compensated.

Should the state set fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks sold in Arizona?


Should the state increase gasoline taxes to pay for more highway construction?


Should the state require new schools to incorporate renewable-energy features such as solar panels if it will increase construction costs?


Should the state continue to provide tax credits for solar installation?

No, that’s where the state needs to be more honest. If solar and wind were a viable energy alternative it would not need to be subsidized by the government.

Should the state enact environmental rules that are more strict then federal regulations?


Scranblewatch Q&A with Doug Sposito on the Budget

Doug Sposito is one of four Republican candidates running for a seat in Legislative District 30 House of Representatives. We asked him if state spending is too high, too low, or just right in the following areas:


Too low.

English Language Learning Programs:

Too high.

Emergency preparedness:

Too low.


Too low.

Health care:

Too low.

Law enforcement:

Too low.

Transportation and highway infrastructure:

Too low.


Too high.


Too low.