Lawsuit filed to stop out of state ‘dark money’ corporation from funding Frank Antenori’s Revitalize Tucson attack ads

FrankensteinWhen you want to run a negative attack campaign to terrorize the villagers, who are you gonna call?

Why Frank(enstein) Antenori of course, Arizona’s version of Donald Trump (spouting invectives towards anyone whom he sees as an enemy, not just a political opponent).

Antenori doesn’t live in Tucson, but he has for years inveighed against the liberal “dirty hippies” of Tucson.

Right back atcha, Frank.

Those attack ad billboards you have seen around Tucson were paid for by Revitalize Tucson, an independent expenditure committee chaired by Frank Antenori and Christine Bauserman (Statement of Organization .pdf).

Revitalize Tucson has been bankrolled by an out of state “dark money” corporation. Attorney Vince Rabago, a former Assistant Arizona Attorney General and candidate for attorney general, and former chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of long time social activist Barbara Tellman against this “dark money” front group, Foundation for Responsible Accountable Government Inc.

Here is the press release:

LAWSUIT FILED TO STOP OUT-OF-STATE “DARK MONEY” CORPORATION FROM CONTINUING TO BANKROLL NEGATIVE POLITICAL CAMPAIGN IN CITY ELECTIONS

(Tucson, Ariz. – Sept. 29th, 2015) Today, a local Tucson voter and long time social activist Barbara Tellman filed a lawsuit against an out-of-state Delaware corporation to stop it from spending any more anonymous political contributions in Arizona until registers as an out of state corporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. Complaint for Injunction with exhibits (.pdf). Arizona law empowers any person to sue for an injunction against an out of state corporation conducting business in Arizona until it registers and obtains permission from the Arizona Corporation Commission to conduct business in the state.

Tellman filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Foundation for Responsible Accountable Government Inc., an out of state Delaware corporation, seeking a court injunction to stop it from engaging in any more business activity here until it complies with Arizona corporation registration and filing requirements.

The corporation, with ties to local Tucsonan GOP activist Christine Bauserman, has been bankrolling former State Senator Frank Antenori’s and Christine Bauserman’s political committee “Revitalize Tucson,” which has spent more than $50,000.00 on negative political billboards across Tucson attacking
the incumbent Democratic City Council candidates since July. The lawsuit argues the corporation has been breaking Arizona law since it does not have a Certificate of Authority to transact business in Arizona, and has not filed corporate registration papers with the Arizona Corporation Commission.

“This out of state Dark Money corporation should follow Arizona corporate filing requirements if it is going to operate in Arizona and participate in Arizona elections,” said Tellman’s attorney, former Assistant Arizona Attorney General Vince Rabago, who filed the case in Pima County Superior Court.

Rabago explained “There are few rules regulating anonymous “Dark Money” contributions from out of state corporations in Arizona, so we used a corporate litigation approach against this type of legally questionable “Dark Money” laundering of contributions from anonymous donors. It is a minimal burden to register with the Arizona Corporation Commission, but they want to hide out of state while interfering with our elections. If they want to participate in Arizona elections, they should register. They should also disclose who their donors are. We are hopeful the Court will stop them from conducting any more activity until they register the required corporate paperwork to get permission to do business here. If they register and comply with Arizona law, the lawsuit will be dismissed.”

Rabago also filed a IRS Complaint Letter and Exhibits (.pdf) directly with the IRS, alleging that it appears the corporation has been abusing its tax exemption organization status as a registered “trade member” organization under IRS Code Section 501(c)(6) because it appears to be spending 100 percent of its annual receipts on political activity, and does not appear to be a legitimate business trade group, noting, among other things, that the trade name is actually registered to Bauserman, who registered as a “Community Organizer.” Rabago asked the IRS to revoke the Delaware company’s 501(c)(6) tax exempt status, and make it disclose its donors.

Pima County superior Court Judge Gus Aragon, has set an Order to Show Cause hearing for Friday, October 2, at 10 am.

9 responses to “Lawsuit filed to stop out of state ‘dark money’ corporation from funding Frank Antenori’s Revitalize Tucson attack ads

  1. Because negative is what Republicans do.

    • That is funny that you forget (ignore?) the negativity that spews forth on these pages on a daily basis.

  2. State Senator John Kavanagh

    Wow. Criticizing a politician is now campaigning. Should the Arizona Republic register as a political committee?

    • Well, it makes about as much sense as deciding that posting a billboard in Arizona is the same thing as operating a business. In the world of Democrats and AZBlueMeanie, logic and reason have no place. ANYTHING is acceptable if it has a chance of getting thm what they want.

    • Now John, please tell us you didn’t already KNOW that publicly posting billboards and paying for them to criticize politicians constitutes campaigning.

      Unless you’re not really John Kavanagh Ph.D., that is. In which case I might believe you didn’t know.

      Btw, wouldn’t it be dandy if you and I were to end up being colleagues? 🙂

  3. So putting up a sign constitutes operating a business? That is quite a reach. I guess when it comes to their “dark money” fetish, Democrats will try anything in the hope something will stick. Smells of desperation…

  4. Dark money is used to deny my right to free speech, as in where I spend my money/speech. They fear boycotts.

    If I don’t know where the money came from, I can’t boycott the business.

    But we do know where the dark money goes. Not to the politicians, they benefit, true, but it’s the media who make a profit.

    Dark money goes to ad buys.

    And there’s lots of ways to get to the media in 2015. They all rely on social media. Go to their Facebook/Twitter pages and cover them with questions about taking dark money, about running ads that are not truthful on their stations or appear in their newspapers.

    When the weather person of the local news station goes on location at some waterpark because the waterpark pays them to be on the news, show up with a shirt that reads Channel X Takes Money from Liars.

    Print and broadcast media are in trouble these days, they can’t afford to have their involvement exposed. I don’t think it would take that much, they crave eyeballs. Shame them. Everywhere.

    Then lookup the membership of ALEC and work out from there, doing the same thing to their social media. A few dozen companies quit ALEC after they were exposed.

    Boycotts work. It’s what people who worship money fear more than anything. Not getting any.

    • You Democrats and your “dark money” nightmares are a real hoot to watch. You don’t lose elections because of “dark money” (especially here in Arizona), you lose because your campaigns deserve to lose. I personally am glad to see you waste you time worrying about “dark money” because it keeps you from actually determining what the problem is, AND it provides for a great deal of humorous postings on how to attack a windmill because you see a giant.

      As far as boycotts are concerned, statistics show that they are not near as effective as they once were. Especially secondary boycotts of the type you are describing. Companies did the research and found that many boycotts were simply a handful of disgruntled customers making a lot of noise and they learned how to distinguish between well organized large boycotts, and the little old lady with tennis shoes and a word proccessor. Add to that the fact that there is a HUGE amount of advertising money out there and boycotts just don’t have the pizzazz they once did. Not that I am discouraging you from starting a boycott…after all, idle hands are the devils playground and a boycott will keep you busy. I am saving your soul! :o)

  5. Bravo to Vince Rabago and Barbara Tellman!