The Clean Elections Commission wants out from under Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order barring all state agencies, boards and commissions from hiring contract lobbyists. The CCEC voted on Thursday to authorize Executive Director Tom Collins to ask DOA for an exemption from the order, though the commission isn’t completely convinced that Ducey or DOA actually have the authority to prohibit it from hiring lobbyists in the first place.

While Clean Elections will formally ask for an exemption, the prevalent opinion at the commission seems to be that the question of whether to hire a lobbyist is one that should be answered by the commission alone.

Commission Chairman Mitch Laird said the governor’s executive order deprives the commission of the ability to make those decisions for itself, and the CCEC has a statutory duty to use its best judgment in determining how it carries out its responsibilities. “To the extent that that’s being taken away from us… are we carrying out our statutory duty?” asked Laird, who said he believes the commission and the people of Arizona have been well-served by Ballard Spahr attorney Joe Kanefield, whose firm also provides lobbying services for the commission.