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Hobbs will remove herself as plaintiff in campaign finance lawsuit

By: - December 7, 2018 3:42 pm

Katie Hobbs speaking with supporters at the Women Together Arizona Summit in September 2016. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Secretary of State-elect Katie Hobbs won’t find herself in a unique position of being both defendant and plaintiff in the same lawsuit.

Hobbs will remove herself as one of the plaintiffs in a legal challenge to a 2016 campaign finance law, which her new office has been tasked with defending in court, a spokeswoman said.

Hobbs was one of 25 Democratic lawmakers who joined the Arizona Advocacy Network’s 2017 lawsuit against provisions of Senate Bill 1516, a massive overhaul of the state’s campaign finance statutes that Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office authored. Reagan is one of the defendants in the case.

But now that Hobbs is preparing to be sworn in as Arizona’s next secretary of state, the responsible thing to do is to remove herself as a plaintiff, spokeswoman Jeanine L’Ecuyer told the Arizona Mirror.

A Maricopa County judge on Wednesday sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that several provisions of the campaign finance law violated the Voter Protection Act, a provision of the Arizona Constitution that restricts the Legislature’s ability to amend voter-approved laws. A Reagan spokesman said at the time that the Secretary of State’s Office hadn’t decided yet whether to appeal the ruling.

Unless it is made in the next few weeks, that decision will be up to Hobbs. As the minority leader in the Arizona Senate, Hobbs opposed SB1516 and joined the lawsuit against it. But L’Ecuyer said an appeal is one of the many options Hobbs is now considering, and emphasized that she is no longer making decisions only for herself.

“She’s now considering not only the best thing for the Secretary of State’s Office but the best thing for the voters,” L’Ecuyer said.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”