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15th May
written by Sean Noble

The Arizona Clean Election Commission voted today to remove State Representative Doug Quelland from office for alleged campaign finance violations.  They also fined him $45,000.

Let’s assume that he did, in fact, violated campaign finance laws.  This warrants removal?  Yes, I know that’s what the law says, but I think the law is bad and needs to be changed.  Remember, it was a citizen initiative that put Clean Elections into place to begin with.  A provision as onerous as removal from office for a finance violation would have never passed a legislature or been signed by a governor.

This kind of action really throws the whole sense of proportionality. Think about it, Rep. William Jefferson got caught with $90,000 cash in his freezer from a direct bribe and not only was he not removed from office, he was reelected!

The proper place for the decision of removal from office should be with the body in which the person is a member.  Article 1 Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution reads:

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.

It’s time to get Arizona law more in line with the intent of our Founding Fathers and the Constitution.

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  1. 15/05/2009

    Sean, it is important to also note the inconsistent manner in which Clean Elections has enforced this provision. As you will recall, Gov. Napolitano violated provisions of Clean Elections by committing tens of thousands of dollars to a website and a massive email campaign for her re-election campaign — prior to the time she was legally able to do so. The magnitude of this violation of law arguably could have resulted in her removal from office. Instead, the Commission gave her a slap on the wrist.

    Obviously, the Commission lacked the political will to even think about removing a popular Governor, but is more than willing to bring down the hammer on lesser-known Republican legislators.

  2. Ryan

    The same Republican’s stepping up should also stem up and apply the same standards to Stapley. Although Quellend’s offenses, if true, show a blatant attempt to skirt the system for a personal gain. Interesting how so don’t see this as a double standard.

  3. 17/05/2009

    “A provision as onerous as removal from office for a finance violation would have never passed a legislature or been signed by a governor.”

    What is onerous about the provision? He cheated to get into office and got caught. The most appropriate punishment for that *is* removal from office.

    BTW – Elected officials objecting to ethics laws because they didn’t write them is like the Mob objecting to racketeering laws that they didn’t write. Comical perhaps, but not surprising. And totally without value.

    BTW2 – that section of the U.S. Constitution is irrelevant in AZ. It only affects the federal legislature, not the various state leges. If it was relevant to the formation and rules of the AZ lege, the AZ Senate districts would be different than the House districts, perhaps based on county lines.

  4. Frankie

    Another thing to keep in mind, Sean, is that he was NOT forced to run through Clean Elections. He chose to, then cheated, and he has to pay the price. Clean Elections states that if you break the rules, you are removed from office. He did so, and so that is his absolutely fair punishment. I cannot believe you would defend him. Actually, now that I think of it, I can believe it, I just don’t like it.

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