Almost two months ago, the main financial support for our anti-dark money petition was snatched away. Since then, I have been burning up the phone lines seeking new financial backing. Many folks stepped-up their support for VPA’s efforts. Some made pledges totaling almost $500,000, but with the sensible condition that we raise the whole amount needed (almost a million dollars) before releasing those pledges. So far, I have not found the needed match money.
The bottom line: Sadly, it takes big money to fight big money. With limited dollars to get our anti-dark money petition qualified for the ballot and the short time remaining to get almost 300,000 valid signatures, the job is just too big for our resources. In spite of great volunteer support across Arizona and polls showing over 80% of Arizonans would vote to stop dark money, I don’t see how the current petition effort will get us on the ballot this year.
Today, I am halting VPA’s participation in the Open and Honest Disclosure petition drive. But,
VPA’s anti-dark money efforts continue.
One reason to stop now is because we need to focus on another threat to fair elections in Arizona. SB1516 was recently signed into law. This complete rewriting of our election statutes takes a huge step in the wrong direction. Instead of exposing dark money, it makes it even easier to use anonymous funds. Before we can hope to have open and honest elections, we must repeal this atrocious law.
VPA will be supporting Rep Ken Clark’s effort to refer SB1516 to the voters and urge you to help. It will take over 70,000 valid signatures to put SB1516 on the November ballot. That is no easy task, since we will have just 90 days after the Legislature adjourned to get all the signatures. In addition to your financial support, we need your volunteer help to succeed. We need petition gatherers, office support, organizers, fundraisers and public speakers.
If you would like to help with the referendum campaign you may sign up at: http://StopCorruptionNowAZ.com
In the short term, VPA will focus on getting signatures for the Referendum. Beyond that, we will get ready to put a full disclosure statute on the 2018 ballot. All those names you gathered on petitions will be our starting point. Over 50,000 strong, they are the foundation for the next phase. Plus, VPA will continue to keep a close eye on dark money and report whenever it pops up in Arizona. Stay tuned!
I am disappointed as I know you are. I spent much of the past two years researching the best ways to expose dark money and drafting a tough anti-dark money statute. I know how many hours have been spent circulating the Initiative petitions. I am proud of what we have done and cannot tell you how grateful I am for all that hard work.
I learned early in politics that the first try often doesn’t get you to the top, but it builds the strength for later success. Persistence pays! Are you with me for this extended quest to stop dark money in Arizona? With your help, I know we can do it,