Initiative Seeks Disclosure of 'Dark Money' Donors

PHOENIX (AP) — A new initiative effort was launched Wednesday seeking to require the disclosure of the source of all political donations in Arizona over $2,500, even if they are funneled through so-called "dark money" groups.

The initiative is backed by a group led by former Democratic state Attorney General Terry Goddard and amends the state Constitution to require the disclosure. Goddard's "Outlaw Dark Money" group needs to collect nearly 226,000 signatures by July 5 to get on the 2018 ballot.

 

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Tax Returns Identify Dark Money Organization As Source of GOP Supreme Court Attacks

A dark money organization that has spent millions to finance conservative causes was the source of the $17 million spent to keep Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat in Republican hands, tax documents reviewed by MapLight reveal.

The Wellspring Committee, a Virginia-based nonprofit, donated more than $23 million last year to the Judicial Crisis Network, which spent $7 million on advertisements pushing Republican senators to block President Barack Obama’s court pick, Merrick Garland. After the election, the network spent another $10 million to boost President Donald Trump’s pick, Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Wellspring received more than $32 million in donations last year, with $28.5 million coming from a single, anonymous donor. Before 2016, Wellspring had never received more than $13.2 million in annual donations. As a social welfare organization, Wellspring is not required to disclose its donors.

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Revised Disclosure Constitutional Amendment

On November 10th, I asked for comments and suggestions on the draft of the Disclosure Amendment. Did Arizona ever come through! I got many good suggestions and a lot of enforceability. Both were appreciated!

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New Effort Aims to ban 'Dark Money' in Arizona Elections

Arizona voters may be asked next November to change the state Constitution, to outlaw so-called "dark money."

Former Attorney General Terry Goddard is leading the effort to put the issue on the 2018 ballot.

Goddard's group will have to collect more than 225,000 valid signatures by next July.

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Defending democracy against populist anger a challenge

In a world of secret offshore bank accounts, anonymous campaign donors and fake Facebook pages, transparency seems to be losing traction.

And then there is the no-holds-barred White House messaging campaign of disrespect, name-calling and reckless hyperbole (to be charitable). Civility apparently no longer figures into the art of the deal.

So it is refreshing to see three Arizona political figures come to the defense of these values in the name of democracy – even though they are in different political parties.

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Roberts: Arizona voters have a chance to demand dark money disclosure

Laurie Roberts: Who are the dark money forces increasingly trying to buy our elections? Arizona voters may soon have the chance to demand disclosure.

For years, we’ve waited for Arizona’s leaders to step up for Arizona’s voters, to embrace the fundamental concept that we deserve to know who is trying to buy this state’s elections.

For years, we’ve watched as Arizona’s leaders not only refused to demand transparency in campaign spending but actually passed a law making it even easier for cloaked interests to anonymously spend millions of dollars to get us to vote a certain way.

Their way.

Now, a pair of longtime political players are preparing to launch a citizens’ initiative aimed at yanking open the blackout curtains that have left us unable to see what’s really going on in this state.

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Draft Outlaw Dirty Money petition

As we wrote recently, before we launch the huge task of gathering thousands of signatures, we want to be as sure as possible that we got the Outlaw Dirty Money proposition right. The dirty money forces will attack every misplaced comma. Therefore, we want the maximum possible number of critical eyes to view the Outlaw Dirty Money text before it is filed. Once we file with the Secretary of State, the text cannot be changed.

You will see right away that this Initiative Measure is a petition to amend the Arizona Constitution. It will require a minimum of 225,963 valid signatures of Arizona voters! Outlawing Dirty Money is so important, and the majority in the Legislature and most state officials are so hopelessly committed to protecting Dirty Money, that we decided the extra effort was needed. Let’s put this into our Constitution, where they cannot fiddle with it!

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Outlaw Dirty Money in Arizona politics

My sincere apologies for going so long without communicating.  Rest assured there has been a lot going on. Over the summer, we have been working hard on a new effort to stop Dirty Money in Arizona.

A lot of time and effort has gone into research and drafting the new initiative and on getting a campaign apparatus ready to circulate petitions. We are particularly fortunate that the Save Our Schools (SOS) petition drive engaged so many quality volunteers so effectively. Their success is not just an inspiration, but many SOS leaders and actives understand how dirty money is threatening public education and are ready to help.

On the campaign messaging side, you probably noticed I used the term “Dirty Money” instead of “Dark Money.” The reason is simple: The amount of anonymous campaign funding by individuals and groups trying to influence our elections has exploded. This type of spending isn’t occasional anymore – it is the rule and growing, with campaign methods that are, well, just dirty.

Yesterday, we had a spectacular response from the activists attending the ‘We The People Summit’.  They were ready to hit the streets with petitions that afternoon!  But, we have one important step before that can happen.

Before we commit to the huge task of gathering thousands of signatures, we want to be as sure as possible that we got it right. The next time you hear from me will be very soon with a draft of the initiative to look over. I hope you will help by providing your input. 

Many thanks,

Terry

For now the best way of contacting the campaign is through our Facebook site: www.facebook.com/outlawdirtymoney. Or you can send an email to: info@outlawdirtymoney.com

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Former AG Crafting Measure to Eliminate 'Dirty Money' from Campaigns

Terry Goddard Press Conference

 

A former state attorney general wants Arizonans to vote to constitutionally ban anonymous donations from political campaigns.

Terry Goddard is crafting a “right to know” initiative that would guarantee in the state constitution that voters are entitled to know who is trying to sway their votes on who to elect for everything from statewide offices to school board members. The measure which Goddard hopes to put to voters a year from now, also would impose the same requirements on those pushing future ballot measures.

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Dark money just keeps on coming in school board races | Washington Post

The Denver Post’s editorial board recently published a piece endorsing four candidates running for the Denver school board, all of them in support of reforms that employ some basic principles of for-profit businesses to the running of nonprofit public education. The editorial calls their opponents “anti-reformers” (as if they oppose making things better for students) and says they “enjoy plenty of money and energy.” (That, apparently, includes a 19-year-old “anti-reformer” candidate who just graduated from high school.)

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