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Clean Elections gives $20 million to state general fund

Arizona's Clean Elections program will give the state $20 million to help reduce the budget deficit.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission, which administers the opt-in public financing of political candidates, has given more than $64 million to the general fund since 2003, with $10 million already contributed in 2010, a press release from the agency said.

"Given our state's fiscal deficit, the commissioners want to support the state as much as possible," said Todd Lang, the commission's executive director.

Clean Elections receives funding from a 10 percent surcharge on all civil penalties and criminal fines, a voluntary $5 check-off on the state income tax form, voluntary donations from individuals as well as $5 qualifying contributions collected by candidates running for legislative and statewide offices.

The system is not funded by the state legislature.

Clean Elections was created after voters passed an law in 1998 that regulates campaign funding. Participating candidates receive funding in return for limiting their spending and agreeing to debate their opponents.

The agency has been the subject of several court challenges.

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