He admitted that, strictly speaking, the Phoenix ordinance does not specifically prohibit municipal workers from contributing. Instead, it bars candidates for city offices from accepting their contributions.
Brnovich called it an indistinguishable distinction, saying it is a total ban on the ability of city employees to donate not only money but anything of value, directly or indirectly. , to any candidate for municipal office.
And that, he said, is inappropriate.
“City employees undoubtedly have an interest in making political contributions,” Brnovich said. “An outright ban on all political contributions, however small, places a substantial burden on the First Amendment rights of public servants. “
Brnovich said his views are supported by the fact that there is no evidence that such a restriction is necessary to do things like promote public confidence in government or ensure the integrity of government.
And even though these are problems, the attorney general said there are other ways to serve the interests of the government without harming the rights of employees.
He pointed out, for example, that state law already prohibits city employees from using the authority of their position to influence the voting or political activities of any subordinate. And another law limits individual contributions to candidates for city office at $ 6,250.