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Updated Apr 2, 2014 - 1:39 pm

Arizona high court explains campaign limits ruling

PHOENIX — A rare split decision by the Arizona Supreme Court said a voter-approved law on campaign contributions set a formula to calculate contribution limits without setting a limit at a fixed amount.

The 3-2 opinion issued Wednesday explained the legal underpinning of the court's December decision allowing higher campaign contribution limits approved by the Republican-led Legislature to take effect.

Under the new limits, candidates for statewide and legislative office are allowed to raise thousands of dollars more each election.

Democrats and a state commission argued that the higher limits run afoul of a 1998 campaign finance law approved by voters.

However, the court's majority opinion said the 1998 law was ambiguous but must reasonably be read as only setting a way to calculate contribution limits, not to set a firm limit.

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