Roya Rahmanpour


Money’s influence on politics has posed a problem for many jurisdictions. Arizona tried to combat this issue in part through the “matching funds” provision of its Clean Elections Act. This provision was part of a larger campaign-financing scheme; it allowed for additional campaign money to go to publicly financed candidates when the expenditures of their privately financed opponents and other independent groups collectively exceeded the initial funding that the state had provided to the publicly financed candidates. In Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett, the U.S. Supreme Court held that this matching funds provision violated the First Amendment. This Comment examines the Court’s ruling and argues that the Court’s disregard of empirical evidence, narrowing of the acceptable compelling state interests, and prioritization of individual speech over societal interests could lead to unprincipled decisions in the field of campaign finance and could cause campaign-finance deregulation. It further argues that the decision’s myopic analytic approach could bring about the piecemeal invalidation of intricate public-financing schemes and adversely impact policy decisions.

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