VI. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS
Commissioners receiving campaign contributions shall conduct all necessary due diligence to properly and accurately document those contributions, to fully comply with campaign finance reporting laws.
Source: A.R.S. §§ 16-926; 18-444; 38-541; 38-543–38-545; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)
Comment: Commissioners who are running for re-election should remain actively involved in financially managing their own campaigns so that contributions can be properly recorded. Commissioners shall make these disclosures available to the public on the
Commission website. To avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest in the Commissioner’s official conduct, Commissioners should be particularly mindful of any campaign contributions received from regulated entities, or campaign
contributions received from individuals or entities affiliated with regulated entities.
Commissioners are not expected to know or disclose the funding source of any independent expenditures, unless these funding sources are confirmed by the donors; however, Commissioners must continue to disclose any and all campaign contributions as required
by Arizona law. Commissioners should educate themselves on the financial disclosure handbook and be familiar with the law, including any amendments or changes to the law regarding disclosure.
Rule 6.2 (A)
With the exception of Citizens Clean Elections Act candidates, beginning with the 2020 election cycle, if a candidate is elected to the Commission and knowingly accepted individual contributions to his or her Commission candidate committee from a party
to a matter before the Commission, the elected candidate shall recuse himself or herself from participating and/or voting on any matter before the Commission involving the party associated with the contribution. Recusal is subject to the doctrine
This rule shall apply to a sitting Commissioner who is also running for any local, state, or federal office.
This rule shall also apply to contributors who: (1) represent a party or an organization that represents a party in a matter before the Commission; (2) is associated with a firm or organization in which the contributor is also associated; (3) is an owner,
officer, employee, or member of a party or a party affiliate; (4) is an individual or entity retained by a party in connection with a matter before the Commission, even if the retained individual or entity does not formally appear on behalf of a party
in a matter before the Commission; (5) is a lobbyist registered with the Commission; (6) is a member of the contributor’s family; (7) is a separate segregated fund established by a corporation, limited liability company, labor organization or
partnership that is required to register as a political action committee.
Comment: A successful Commission candidate is subject to recusal under the code for violation of this rule, even if the candidate was not a Commissioner during the period of candidacy. For the purposes of this rule, a candidate for the Commission
means any person, including a sitting Commissioner, who is seeking selection for the office of Arizona Corporation Commissioner by election or appointment. A person becomes a candidate for the Commission, or any local, state, or federal office, as
soon as he or she makes a public announcement of candidacy, declares or files as a candidate with the Secretary of State, or other filing authority, authorizes or, where permitted, engages in solicitation or acceptance of contributions or support,
or is nominated for election or appointment of office.
For the purposes of this rule, a contribution means any money, advance, deposit or other thing of value that is made to a person for the purpose of influencing an election. A contribution means any money, advance, deposit or other thing of value
that is made to a Commissioner, that Commissioner’s family, or that Commissioner’s interest/cause. A party means any applicant, complainant, respondent, intervenor, or protestant to a matter before the Commission as defined in A.A.C. R14-3-103.
An affiliate means an organization, person, or group that is connected with, or controlled by, a larger group. A member of the contributor’s family means a spouse, domestic partner, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, or other relative or
person with whom the contributor maintains a close familial relationship. Member of household shall be as defined in the Judicial Code of Conduct. Known shall mean known to the Commissioner without that Commissioner having to do special research into
publicly available documents, e.g., a utility reveals in the press that it has provided funds to an independent expenditure group that has contributed funds to a Commissioner’s campaign. Known would not mean that same utility provided
funds to that same independent expenditure group, but that was not revealed publicly other than in some required filing with some government agency.
If a contributor is a party to a matter before the Commission at the time of contribution or after, their party status continues through the duration of the Commissioner’s term and applies to any future matters that involve the party. The election
cycle means the two-year period beginning on January 1 in the year after a statewide general election and ending on December 31 in the year of a statewide general election. A contributor shall not give, and a political action committee or a political
party shall not accept, a contribution that has been earmarked for a candidate for the Commission.
Prior to voting on a matter before the Commission, a Commissioner shall declare any known campaign contributions or contributions of any kind which indirectly benefit that Commissioner (e.g. independent expenditure), or directly
or indirectly benefit that Commissioner’s immediate family (mother, father, sister, brother, spouse, children, and members of household), and/or that Commissioner’s personal interest/cause (e.g., favorite charity), where the contribution
- A business entity, that is a party in the matter (or a related entity) before the Commission, where the owners, and/or officers, and/or employees who are in executive positions, have indirectly (e.g., through independent expenditure, or other third-party
independent expenditure, etc.) contributed, in aggregate, one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more.
- An individual that is a party in the matter before the Commission where the individual and/or members of that individual’s immediate family have contributed indirectly (e.g., through independent expenditure, or other third-party independent
expenditure), in aggregate, one hundred dollars ($100) or more.
The declaration shall be made in writing as soon as possible after the Commissioner knows that a matter that meets the above criteria (if a charity or cause, the name of that charity or cause need not be revealed) will be on an Open Meeting agenda, but
no less than two business days before a vote on the matter. The declaration shall identify the donor, state the dollar amount of the contribution and whom it benefited. The declaration shall state whether or not the contribution was returned
to the donor. The declaration shall also contain the following language:
“Any party to this who believes that I should recuse myself may file the reasons for recusal in this docket. I may or may not recuse myself from this matter.”
The same declaration shall also be made orally by the Commissioner immediately following the Commission Chairman announcing the matter for discussion at the Open Meeting. Any party to the case shall be given the opportunity to state, at the Open
Meeting, why the Commissioner should not be voting on the matter.
The contributions contemplated above shall include all contributions received:
- Within eighteen (18) months of a Commissioner’s election/appointment to the Commission, even if the contribution is returned to the donor.
- While a Commissioner is in office, even if the contribution is returned to the donor.
Source: A.R.S. §§ 16-901, 16-905, 16-911, 16-913, 16-916, 16-918, 16-922, 16-926; A.A.C. R14-3-103; Ariz. Code of Judicial Conduct, Canon IV; Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010)