Tag Archives: dark money

Professors Lay Bare Koch Scheme to Corrupt Arizona Universities

150 people attended "Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center" at the University of Arizona.

150 people attended “Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center” at the University of Arizona.

Professors and activists laid bare the Koch Brothers’ plot to corrupt Arizona’s universities to advance their anti-worker, anti-consumer and anti-public school agenda. 150 people attended “Dark Money, Charles Koch, and the UA Freedom Center” at the Tucson UA campus.

The speakers called on University President Robert C. Robbins to put the so-called “Freedom Center” under rigorous scrutiny, and they urged citizens to call and write Koch-funded Gov. Ducey to end the unique $2.5 million budget line-items especially for the Freedom Center.

Freedom Center DonorsThey are members of Kochs Off Campus! — a nonpartisan group of Tucson residents, UA faculty and students concerned about the undue influence of right-wing money on public education.

Donors to the Freedom Center are a whos-who of right-wing advocates, including the Charles G. Koch Foundation, the Templeton Foundation, Randy and Ken Kendrick, the Thomas W. Smith Foundation and even local car dealer Jim Click, according to Douglas Weiner, Professor of History.

“There has been a lack of transparency in the operation of the Freedom Center,” Weiner said, pointing out secret donor agreements, undisclosed donors and surreptitious planting of Koch textbooks in Tucson high schools.

“One of the biggest issues of the academic neutrality of the Freedom Center is that Director David Schmidtz has a long association with libertarian politics,” Weiner said.

See Koch Brothers Deeply Infect the U of A and Tucson Schools.

Koch Structure for “Social Change”

The Koch brothers political agenda is to promote private schools, defund public education, eliminate consumer and environmental protections, minimize employee rights, and abolish taxes on their businesses.

Samantha Parsons, Campaign Organizer of UnKoch My Campus, said 419 campuses have taken funding from the Kochs. “It is highly inappropriate for a donor to have this control over a university. They are holding the universities hostage,” she said.
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Update: Senate Passes Bill to Hide Dark Money in Local Elections

Dark Money Vote 3-29-18Update: Arizona lawmakers (again) sided with dark-money special interests instead of voters. The Senate passed HB 2153 by a 17-13 (party–line) vote. The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Doug Ducey to sign or veto.

HB 2153, sponsored by ALEC member Rep. Vince Leach (R-11), blocks local governments from enforcing their own dark money disclosure requirements.

Now’s the time to call his office at 602.542.4331 and tell him to stand with voters, instead of dark-money special interest groups and VETO HB 2153.


One of the worst pieces of legislation ever produced by the Republicans in the state legislature is nearing a vote that would lock away the source of dark money in local Arizona politics.

HB2153, introduced by right-wing Rep. Vince Leach of Saddlebrooke, bans any city or county from requiring nonprofit political groups to identify campaign contributors.

The bill is a direct response to a city charter amendment in Tempe to require such disclosures. 91 percent of Tempe voters said “yes” to the political campaign transparency measure.

Leach’s HB2153 would throw a greater cloud of darkness over dark money political campaign contributions now made in secret by out-of-state contributors and notorious right-winger donors like the billionaire Koch brothers. Continue reading

Teachers, Taxes and Tea-Publicans, Oh My!

Our Koch-Bot Governor Doug Ducey, the self-annointed “education governor”(sic), claims that he wants to put more money into public education and to give teachers raises.

But the Arizona Republic recently took a look at the actual numbers. How much are Arizona teachers paid?

The Arizona Republic took a closer look at the numbers. Here’s what we found:

Median teacher pay

According to an analysis by the Arizona School Boards Association published in January, the median teacher pay in 2018 is $46,949.

This number takes into account how the allocation of Proposition 123 has so far factored into teacher pay. It shows the median salary has risen 4.6 percent since 2015, giving teachers about $2,000 more a year.

The number does not reflect a 1 percent pay increase for teachers that the Legislature and Ducey approved last year. Because of the way that money was allocated [i.e., a bonus], it is not part of teachers’ base pay.

How does Arizona compare?

The most recent — and arguably most equitable — comparison of teacher salaries nationwide is a May 2017 analysis by Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy. That analysis adjusted the numbers to take into account the cost of living in each state.

According to that data, the median salary for Arizona elementary school teachers in 2016, adjusted for regional purchasing power, was $42,474. The median salary for high school teachers was $47,890.

When all state salaries are adjusted in this way, Arizona ranks 50th in the nation for elementary teacher salaries, and 49th for high school teacher salaries. Oklahoma ranked 50th for high school teachers.

“Education governor” my ass! What a fraud.

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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.