Monday, January 31, 2005

Contempt for rule of law in Distict 7

During Scottsdale Republican Rep. David Burnell Smith's campaign for the State House this last election, he illegally overspent his campaign finance limits by "as much as 22% percent".

Candidate Smith signed his application for certification [PDF) with the Clean Election Commission. He knew what the rules were, yet he appears to have purposefully ignored the law. If found in violation of the campaign finance laws of Arizona by illegally overspending campaign funds, the remedy provided by law is his removal from office.

Smith has 10 days to respond to an independent audit report that claims that he did overspend in his finances. A Dec 31, 2004 interview with the East Valley Tribune mentions Smith's belief that "an appointed body of regulators can't remove a duly elected lawmaker from office, even though state voters approved that provision when they passed the Clean Elections initiative in 1998." Apparently, Smith holds Arizona voters in such contempt, he feels he needen't obey our laws.

Smith said:

"Probably no judge in Arizona would do that (remove him from office)," Smith said. "As a lawyer, I think it's unconstitutional. They could destroy the will of the people for mistakes made in campaigns."

This is coming from the Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Commmittee, no less! Unfortunately, David Burnell Smith, though a lawyer by trade, does not know how the law works. He does not get to decide what is constitutional, that decision is up to the Arizona State Supreme Court.

"It seems enormously difficult to think that an unelected, unconfirmed group of political agnostics can simply disenfranchise 44,000 people," said Lee Miller - Smith's attorney (Political pressure building to oust Arizona legislator, The Arizona Republic Jan. 28, 2005 12:00 AM).

None of the 44,000 people who voted in Smith's District will be disenfranchised. Republican Precinct Chairs get to elect a new legislative representative.

What is a 'political agnostic'? I'm guessing it means anyone who isn't so poisoned by political partisanship that they will enforce the law impartially. If so, count me in. I think the rule of law is a concept and a habit worth defending, unlike those who defend Smith's right to a seat that he cheated the system to achieve.


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