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.