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In the decade before Arizona voters passed a 1998 law giving state candidates public campaign financing, they’d seen one governor impeached and another resign after being convicted of fraud. At one point, nearly 10 percent of the state Legislature was under indictment following a corruption sting related to gambling proposals.

The new law provided a trigger that allowed state matching funds for candidates whose opponents raise more than a specified amount of money from private sources or get substantial help from outside groups. In 2008, pro-business groups including the Arizona Free Enterprise Club challenged it in federal court, arguing the law hinders the speech of big campaign donors and impedes the exercise of their First Amendment rights.

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