(CN) – The Supreme Court has refused to block enforcement of an Arizona law that provides matching public funds to political candidates who agree to forego private donations.
The high court issued a one-page order rejecting the emergency appeal filed by opponents of Arizona’s Clean Elections Act.
The 9th Circuit last week upheld the campaign reform law, saying the statute doesn’t violate the First Amendment.
Approved by voters in 1998, the Clean Elections law allows candidates who collect a certain number of $5 donations from constituents to receive a lump sum of public money if they agree not to accept money from special-interest groups. They can then qualify for more public money if an opponent running as a traditional candidate spends more money on his or her campaign than the publicly funded candidate initially received.
Republican candidates said the system forced them to rein in their own spending to avoid triggering additional matching funds for their Clean Elections opponents.
The high court on Tuesday rejected the emergency appeal, but left open the possibility of a full Supreme Court review. Justice Anthony Kennedy also allowed the Buzz Mills for Governor Campaign to file a friend-of-the-court brief.
The case is McComish v. Bennett, no. 09A1133.