Tag Archives: dark money

Tea-Publicans in Arizona House vote to protect their ‘dark money’ campaign financing lifeline

The Republican National Committee and Arizona Republican Party have largely been supplanted by what amounts to a private political party of billionaire donors and corporations and their nonprofit PACs who supply the GOP’s “dark money” campaign financing lifeline. For example, see the Center for Responsive Politics (OpenSecrets.org) Who are the top Dark Money Donors?

Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature have consistently defeated measures requiring greater transparency and disclosure of sources of campaign financing, and have advanced measures making opaque “dark money” campaign financing easier and more wide-spread out of pure self-interest — the GOP is entirely dependent on “dark money.”

In response, local governments have tried to step in to fill the void created by our GOP-controlled state legislature, and have enacted “clean election” disclosure requirements for campaign contributions. Our authoritarian GOP legislature won’t stand for this, and is acting to quash local government “clean election” disclosure requirements for campaign contributions.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, House passes measure to keep cities from banning ‘dark money’:

State lawmakers voted Tuesday to block any efforts by Arizona cities and counties to find out – and inform the public – who is funneling money into local elections through nonprofit groups.

On a 33-25 margin the Republican-controlled House voted to prohibit local government from requiring organizations declared to be tax-exempt by the Internal Revenue Service from registering as political action committees, even if they are putting money into races.

More to the point, it would preclude any requirement that these so-called “dark money” groups identify donors. And it would bar local governments from auditing the books of these groups or requiring them to respond to subpoenas, even if there were allegations that they were violating campaign finance laws.

HB 2153 (.pdf) now goes to the Senate, which also is dominated by Tea-Publicans.

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Evil GOP bastards reject the will of the voters on Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206)

Rep. Paul Gosar is Arizona’s most embarrassing member of Congress, but in the Arizona legislature, there are a multitude of challengers for the title of most embarrassing member of the legislature.

A perennial contender is Sen. Sylvia “Earth is 6,000 years old” Allen (R-Snowflake), a theocratic Dominionist Christian Reconstructionist whose heretical views of Christianity too frequently influence the legislation she advances.

Sen. Allen’s latest dog bone to chew on is the Minimum Wage Initiative (Prop. 206) overwhelmingly approved by Arizona voters in 2016. She believes that you the voters were “immoral” in approving the Minimum Wage Initiative, and she wants to reverse the will of you sinful voters. You’re all going to Hell!

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Senate committee passes resolution to repeal state’s minimum wage:

A resolution sponsored by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, would ask voters to undue much of Proposition 206, a citizen-driven initiative that boosted Arizona’s minimum wage from $8.05 to $10 in 2017, $10.50 in 2018 and eventually to $12 by 2020. Allen’s resolution would also repeal mandated paid sick time and a provision that allows domestic violence victims to take paid sick leave to handle issues caused by the violence.

Allen, who in the past has described the notion of minimum wage as “morally flawed,” wants voters to freeze the minimum wage at $10.50, repeal state laws requiring employers to provide paid sick leave, and adopt a new law prohibiting cities, counties or towns from adopting their own minimum wage if it’s higher than the state’s.

Mandating a minimum wage is like “pulling money from one person to give to another person,” she told the Senate Commerce and Public Safety Committee on Monday.

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Campaign to Outlaw Dirty Money with a “Right to Know” Initiative

Dark Money is so prevalent that it helped defeat preschool scholarships in Tucson. The Koch brothers’ front organization “Americans for Prosperity” teamed up with local Republicans to kill Prop. 204. And that’s not all.

Governor Doug Ducey was elected in 2014 with $3.5 million in spending by six dark-money groups, and he signed a law in 2016 that loosens state control over anonymous campaign donations. Ducey regularly visits the Koch brothers to get his marching orders and to collect more anonymous cash.

On the Arizona Corporation Commission, Republicans Doug Little and Tom Forese are suspected of taking $3.2 million in “dark money” from Arizona Public Service Co. to elect them in 2014.

How much have the right-wing Kochs and power companies spent locally and statewide to sabotage Arizona’s elections? We may know one day if a state constitutional “right to know” amendment is adopted.

Don’t call it dark money

To expose how dark money is spent in Arizona, former Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard is spearheading a campaign to amend the state constitution that will expose any donor who contributes at least $10,000 into any campaign.

Without the measure, there is no way to find out how is behind commercials, yard signs and phone calls paid for by the Kochs and other right-wing groups. Many are “social welfare” fronts created under 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code and don’t need to disclose their donors

“Don’t call it ‘dark money,’” says campaign strategist Bob Grossfeld. “It’s dirty money. These donors follow a procedure that’s identical to what criminals and drug dealers follow to launder money. The purpose is to hide the source. That’s because the donors are cowards. If they weren’t, they’d step out in public to say ‘I oppose this.’ They don’t do that, they want to hide.”

Arizona has become ground zero for dirty money since the US Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case in 2010 that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend all they want in political campaigns. Anonymous interests spent at least $15 million trying to get their favored candidates installed in Arizona’s state and legislative offices in  2014.

“These people are sitting in the shadows, targeting good ideas or fostering bad ideas. What the legislature did to expand school vouchers was a Koch brothers operation,” he says.

The “right to know” public initiative must be approved by voters in November 2018, and the campaign is working to collect the 225,963 signatures needed by July 5 to qualify for the statewide ballot.

Grossfeld says that a poll taken before the 2016 election showed that 85% of voters want to stop dirty money contributions. “That cuts across all party lines,” he says. “We know the support is there if we can get it only ballot. That means we need a whole lot of volunteers.”

Your can visit the Outlaw Dirty Money Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/outlawdirtymoney, or contact Bill Elliott at info@outlawdirtymoney.com and 602 770-6735

This article originally appeared in the Democratic Party LD9 newsletter.

Rep. Martha McSally is still being coy about senate run

Rep. Martha McSally continues to toy with the idea of running for the Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake, but she has yet to make a public announcement. The Arizona Daily Star reports, US Rep. Martha McSally tells House colleagues she’s running for Senate:

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally has told Republican colleagues that she’s running for Sen. Jeff Flake’s open seat next year, meaning there will be someone new representing Southern Arizona’s hotly contested Congressional District 2.

The news didn’t come from McSally but instead from U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, a Republican colleague in Congressional District 6, who confirmed to reporters for several news outlets that the retired Air Force colonel said she was planning to enter the Senate race.

McSally could not be reached for comment and has not made a formal announcement about her plans. Calls to her campaign office, as well as to her congressional office in Tucson, went unreturned Tuesday.

Geezus, she’s still hiding in the chicken bunker. Come out, come out, and face your constituents, Martha.

Former state Sen. Kelli Ward and several other Republican candidates have already announced they were running for Flake’s seat in the GOP primary.

McSally is already facing resistance from President Trump supporters. Last week, the Great America Alliance PAC put out a digital ad (Amnesty Martha) and dedicated website amnestymartha.com that criticized McSally for “supporting amnesty for illegals.”

Ward challenged Sen. John McCain last year and lost, but Trump has offered support for her candidacy even though he did not endorse her. Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, however, endorsed Ward last month.

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Arizona’s authoritarian Tea-Publicans are coming for your constitutional rights

The Arizona Constitution clearly spells out that Arizona citizens are the ultimate lawmakers:

Arizona Constitution, Article 4 Part 1 Section 1 – Legislative authority; initiative and referendum

1. Legislative authority; initiative and referendum

Section 1. (1) Senate; house of representatives; reservation of power to people. The legislative authority of the state shall be vested in the legislature, consisting of a senate and a house of representatives, but the people reserve the power to propose laws and amendments to the constitution and to enact or reject such laws and amendments at the polls, independently of the legislature; and they also reserve, for use at their own option, the power to approve or reject at the polls any act, or item, section, or part of any act, of the legislature.

But our authoritarian Tea-Publican state legislators and governor, and their masters in the Chamber of Commerce organizations and the “Kocktopus” network,  are planning an assault on the constitutional right of Arizonans to enact their own laws unfettered by legislative interference. Lawmakers plan assault on voters’ right to make laws:

A series of measures being proposed would change everything from signature threshold to imposing new requirements on the ability to use paid circulators. But the biggest would ask voters to repeal the measure they approved in 1998, theVoter Protection Act, which specifically bars lawmakers from tinkering with what the public approves at the ballot.

imussol001p1That’s not to say there won’t be other issues consuming lawmakers’ time when the session begins Monday. Those issues range from how to divide up the more than $9 billion in revenues to who gets tax cuts, especially because Gov. Doug Ducey vowed during his 2014 campaign to propose a tax cut every year he is in office. And he told Capitol Media Services he remains committed to that.

The big issue, obviously, is school funding. But don’t underestimate the political fighting that will occur over initiatives and who gets to write – and repeal – state laws.

It was voters who approved not only higher taxes on tobacco but also limits on where people can smoke. And it was voters who required funding of early childhood education programs, allowed the medical use of marijuana and approved the state’s first-ever minimum wage.

But it was the more recent 58-42 percent approval of Proposition 206 – the law that hikes the minimum immediately to $10, takes it to $12 by 2020 and mandates paid time off – that has angered members of the business community. They want new registration requirements on those who collect signatures for money, as well as make it easier to challenge those signatures.

There also are moves to require a certain percentage of signatures on ballot propositions to come from the state’s 13 rural counties.

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State Senator Steve Farley considering running for governor

The railbird reporting this week is that state senator Steve Farley (D-Tucson) is considering running for governor in 2018 against Governor Doug Ducey. Tucson Democrat Farley considering run for governor in 2018:

FarleyHoping Arizonans will have had their fill of Republican policies by 2018, Tucson Democrat Steve Farley is weighing a bid to make incumbent Doug Ducey a one-term governor.

Farley told Capitol Media Services on Tuesday that the tax cuts enacted during Ducey’s administration have left the state’s K-12 and higher-education systems without adequate funding.

Instead, he said, the governor’s policies seem to rely on the idea that tax breaks will grow the economy through new corporations moving here. In fact, Ducey has not only promised to propose tax cuts every year he is governor but said he will drive the state income tax rate to “as close to zero as possible.”

Farley said that recipe makes no sense.

“The large corporations won’t come here anymore if we don’t have a workforce that’s trained to be able to work for them,” he said.

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