Friday, April 27, 2012

Arizona: House member calls for legislature to reimburse Pearce for recall expenses

Arizona Speaker Pro Tem Steve Montenegro is calling for passing a bill to reimburse former Senate President Russell Pearce for recall costs in his last election -- part of a quirk in Arizona law that allows elected officials to seek reimbursement for recall expenses. Pearce is running for a new Senate seat and that money obviously couldn't hurt.

There's some big questions here, most prominently what qualifies as a reimbursable expense. Montenegro is claiming that Pearce should be reimbursed for all of the campaign costs ($260,302), though others claim that at best it should be limited to his own personal expenses, not funds he raised and spent.

Here is a previous look at the question of recall reimbursement.

Note that:

Until 1973, state law included provisions to reimburse recalled officials: maximums of $500 for statewide officers, $200 for legislators and $150 for municipal officers. However, that law was repealed as part of a sweeping overhaul of the state’s initiative, referendum and recall statutes.
And the only time it came up was when Governor Evan Meacham faced a recall (that never occurred because of his impeachment). Here's what happened:

When Mecham requested an advance payment of $1.5 million to fund his campaign, Attorney General Bob Corbin issued an opinion that said the Legislature must enact a provision to make the payment, as one does not exist in statute – and that the amount reimbursed could be whatever lawmakers choose.

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