Tag Archives: Terry Goddard

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.

Robert Robb is correct, but also mistaken, in his analysis of Top Two Primary.

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

johnson top two
Photo: Arizona Republic

Robert Robb makes a logically consistent, persuasive, and correct argument (sort of) in favor of the 2016 Top Two Primary initiative in Arizona:

The principal objective of the top-two primary initiative shouldn’t be sugarcoated.

It isn’t to increase voter turnout or eliminate discriminatory barriers to independent candidates. Those might be desired byproducts. But they are not the main event.

The principal objective, the main event, is to reduce the influence of conservative Republicans in state government and politics. Those who don’t like the outcomes of Arizona elections want to change those outcomes by changing the rules.

It’s really about reducing conservative power

Plainly stating the principal objective shouldn’t settle the argument, even for conservative Republicans. For there is something else that should be plainly stated: The current system of partisan primaries doesn’t fit today’s political demography in Arizona.

Under the current system, state law establishes conditions for having a political party recognized. Taxpayers pay for recognized parties to hold primary elections to select their general election candidates. Parties get other advantages, such as preferential access to the voter roll.

Robb is correct that claims of Top Two increasing turnout or helping “independent” candidates get elected are howlers to people who pay anything resembling close attention to Arizona elections but possibly plausible to those who don’t, hence such claims being at the forefront of selling the initiative to the general public and certain gullible pundits.

And Robb is on point with his assertion that the traditional primary system does not reflect current registration figures (a third of the state’s voters are not officially affiliated with any party) and the case he makes for removing taxpayer funding of partisan primaries is a solid one. It is objectively the best argument for changing to an open primary system.

So far, so good, but here’s where even Robb, who has thus far evaluated the initiative in the most clear-headed manner of anyone in the news media, gets it wrong: Continue reading

Meet the highly shady out-of-state characters influencing, and bankrolling, Top Two Primary in AZ

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

John Arnold and Jackie Salit
John Arnold and Jackie Salit

It’s no secret that “centrist” business leaders in the Central Phoenix corridor and their friends at the Arizona Republic are strongly backing the Top Two Primary initiative, which now has ballot language and is getting signatures gathered for it. Even political reporter Mary Jo Pitzl couldn’t help but make her lede look like a press release for it:

Unlikely allies want to shake up Arizona elections with proposals outlawing anonymous corporate political donations and replacing a primary system they say favors the extremes of both major political parties.

The proposed ballot measures are being spearheaded by two former Phoenix mayors who ran as Democrats for governor and the Republican political consultant who most recently backed Gov. Jan Brewer.

But Terry Goddard, Paul Johnson and Chuck Coughlin say they’ve found common ground in a quest that Coughlin describes as an effort “to reinvent the architecture of Arizona politics.”

Supporters cite the fact independents have become the largest voting block in Arizona and could propel both measures to success in November.

“A political system has to accurately represent the true picture of the electorate,” said Jackie Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org. And that’s not happening now, she said.

Continue reading

The Top Two blackmailing of AZ Democrats begins!

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Open and Honest Elections filing

From the AZ Capitol Times comes this teaser for their January 12th edition of the Yellow Sheet:

Top two and anti-dark money rolled into one

By: Yellow Sheet Report January 12, 2016 , 4:18 pm

The campaigns for dark money disclosure and a “top-two” style primary election system have officially joined forces under the aegis of Open and Honest Coalition. In a news release today, the coalition announced the filing of “separate, but aligned” proposals to amend the Arizona Constitution.

Continue reading

GOP chair paints Top Two Primary and anti-Dark Money initiatives as the work of dirty hippies

Robert Graham
Robert Graham

Per AZGOP Chair Robert Graham in the AZ Capitol Times:

The Arizona Capitol Times recently reported the same people behind the failed jungle primary initiative in 2012 plan on taking another run at it in 2016. Only this time jungle primary supporters intend to team up with another group of liberals pushing an aggressive regulatory agenda designed to relieve Arizonans of our free speech rights—all under the guise of eliminating so-called dark money.

Ouch! That’s bound to leave a mark on the carefully-crafted “we’re so above the extremists on both sides!” image of the Open Primaries people. Graham’s oped is clearly signalling how conservatives plan to defeat both Top Two primaries and Terry Goddard’s Dark Money initiative – by painting both as acts of desperation by sore loser leftists.

No, really, Graham says so (though he admits the two measures are unrelated):

The supporters pushing this initiative are losing candidates who have proven incapable of winning elections in Arizona. Paul Johnson and Terry Goddard, the two people behind the jungle primary and the attack on free speech, have a combined staggering six losses in statewide races. Continue reading

What is Terry Goddard thinking??

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

open primaries dark money
Already trying to make them look similar. Except they’re not. Not even remotely.

Ugh. (Emphasis mine.)

“They both help each other,” [Paul] Johnson said. “The polling was very clear. If they both end up on (the ballot), even through independent efforts, they both help each other.”
More public support may be just what Open Primaries Arizona needs. When Johnson ran a top-two primary measure in 2012, it suffered a landslide defeat. Two-thirds of Arizonans rejected the plan, which garnered only 33 percent of the vote. Johnson’s group is making some changes to the top-two plan, which he said will make it more palatable to voters.

Open Primaries Arizona has commissioned several polls on the top-two primary and other election reforms, including requiring dark money to be disclosed, as other election spending is. Chuck Coughlin of HighGround, which Johnson’s group has retained (!), said polling has shown a lot of support for both ideas.

Continue reading