The twin-headed hydra of the “Kochtopus” dark money network and the Chamber of Commerce organization members which supply it with an endless stream of anonymous dark money are hard at work to snuff out the last remaining vestiges of democracy in Arizona. “This is a corporatocracy! No democracy for you!”
Corporation like to say “money equals speech.” But what they really mean to say is “money equals power” — “we have it and we are not going to give it up.”
Earlier this month the twin-headed hydra successfully defeated the two competing dark money initiatives that threatened its operations. Roberts: Arizona power set kills initiative:
An initiative drive – one aimed at strengthening the state’s Clean Elections system, lowering recently boosted contribution limits for traditionally funded candidates and … wait for it … requiring more disclosure from the dark money groups that increasingly are buying Arizona elections — has failed.
A spokesman for Arizonans for Clean and Accountable Elections said none of the Arizona petition-gathering firms they contacted would work for the campaign.
Isn’t that curious? Collecting signatures on petitions is what these companies do. Why, you might ask, would they turn down business?
Well, here’s a hint, from an internal memo written in April by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry about “Bad for Arizona Business 2016 initiatives.”
Among them was the Clean and Accountable Elections Act.
Cue the chamber: “In order to prevent the (Clean Elections) Commission and others from infringing on First Amendment rights and putting large constraints on election activity, the business community could consider an attempt to prevent the initiative from making it to the ballot by conducting a legal challenge based on the constitutionality and broadness of the initiative, as well as other means to prevent the collection of the necessary signatures to place it on the ballot.”
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[T]he chamber’s “other means to prevent the collection of the necessary signatures.”
Julie Erfle, spokeswoman for Clean and Accountable Elections, said no Arizona petition-gathering firm would carry petitions for their initiative, forcing the campaign to go outside the state to hire a petition-gathering firm and doubling the cost. One petition firm was considering it, she said, but abruptly cancelled and began collecting signatures on an anti-Clean Elections petition.
In the end, the delay in getting initiative petitions onto the streets doomed the effort.
The last remaining hope was the referendum on SB 1516, the “dark money on streroids” bill passed by Tea-Publicans and signed by Governor “Il Duce.” Now that last hope has also been snuffed out as well. Drive to block new Arizona law easing ‘dark money’ rules fails:
The organizer of a bid to quash a new state law easing rules on anonymous “dark money” donations in political races has folded his tent.
Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, said Friday he will not be able to get the required 75,321 valid signatures by the Aug. 5 deadline.
In fact, Clark said his approximately 300 volunteers have so far collected only about 20,000 names on petitions. And of that, he said a preliminary review shows only about 16,000 are valid.
Clark said the defeat came down to a lack of money.
The result is that SB 1516 will take effect as scheduled Aug. 6.
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[A]ny moves to force more disclosure will get a fight from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry which has argued that laws compelling groups involved in political campaigns to identify their donors would chill First Amendment rights.
The twin-headed hydra’s concern for First Amendment rights does not extend to your equal rights. Of the three initiatives that filed enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, the Chamber of Commerce organizations are suing to prevent all three from appearing on the ballot. “No democracy for you!”
First there was the marijuana initiative, Lawsuit would stop Arizona pot-legalization ballot measure. A hearing is set for July 19 in Maricopa County Superior Court.
And now comes this, Lawsuits go after wage ballot measures:
Two statewide business groups are trying to keep voters from deciding whether $12 an hour is too much for workers and $216 an hour is too little for hospital executives.
Lawsuits filed in Maricopa County Superior Court contend both measures are legally flawed. They want judges to rule that Secretary of State Michele Reagan cannot put either of them on the ballot.
The challenge to the wage is being brought by the Arizona Restaurant Association whose members have workers now being paid less than what the new law wold require. The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is taking the lead on behalf of its member hospitals to sideline the cap on hospital pay.
This is the third bid this year by business interests to keep initiatives off the ballot. The chamber already is a plaintiff in a separate measure to sideline an initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Judge Gerlach has set a hearing for Thursday, July 21 on the challenge to the hospital pay initiative; Judge Rogers is hearing arguments a week later on the minimum wage question.
There is one thing that the twin-headed hydra has not taken from you (yet) — your right to vote. While the dark money efforts have failed, for now, you hold in your hands the power to vote the corporatocracy’s Tea-Publican servants out of the Arizona legislature, and begin to drain the swamp of the decades-old GOP culture of corruption in Arizona.
Laurie Robers of The Republic provides a helpful list today. Roll call: Who supported expanding dark money in Arizona?
(SB 1516 was passed by the Legislature, despite polls showing that Arizona voters overwhelmingly oppose dark money.)
SB 1516 was passed by Republican legislators, though a few voted against it. Democrats united to oppose the bill, though a couple didn’t vote.
Here’s a rundown on who did what:
Republican senators voting for the bill: Sylvia Allen of Snowflake; Nancy Barton of Phoenix; Carlyle Begay of Ganado; Andy Biggs of Gilbert; Judy Burges of Sun City West; Jeff Dial of Chandler; Susan Donahue of Lake Havasu City; Adam Driggs of Phoenix; David Farnsworth of Mesa; Gail Griffin of Hereford; John Kavanagh of Fountain Hills; Debbie Lesko of Peoria; Steve Pierce of Prescott; Don Shooter of Yuma; Steve Smith of Maricopa; Bob Worsley of Mesa; Steve Yarbrough of Chandler, and Kimberly Yee of Phoenix.
No Republican senators voted against the bill.
Democratic senators who voted against the bill: David Bradley and Olivia Cajero Bedford, both of Tucson; Lupe Contreras of Cashion; Andrea Dalessandro of Sahuarita; Steve Farley of Tucson; Katie Hobbs of Phoenix; Barbara McGuire of Kearny; Lynne Pancrazi of Yuma; Martin Quezada of Phoenix, and Andrew Sherwood of Tempe.
Senate Democrats Robert Meza and Catherine Miranda, both of Phoenix, didn’t vote.
Republican representatives voting for the bill: John Allen of Scottsdale, Brenda Barton of Payson, Sonny Borrelli of Lake Havasu City; Rusty Bowers of Mesa; Paul Boyer of Phoenix; Heather Carter of Phoenix; Regina Cobb of Kingman; Doug Coleman of Apache Junction; Karen Fann of Prescott; Eddie Farnsworth of Gilbert; Mark Finchem of Oro Valley; David Gowan of Sierra Vista, Rick Gray of Sun City; Anthony Kern of Glendale; Jay Lawrence of Scottsdale; Vince Leach of Tucson; David Livingston and Phil Lovas, both of Peoria; J.D. Mesnard of Chandler; Darin Mitchell and Steve Montenegro, both of Litchfield Park; Jill Norgaard of Phoenix; Justin Olson of Mesa; Warren Petersen of Gilbert; Frank Pratt of Casa Grande; Tony Rivero of Peoria; T.J. Shope of Coolidge; David Stevens of Sierra Vista; Bob Thorpe of Flagstaff; Kelly Townsend of Mesa, and Jeff Weninger of Chandler.
Republicans voting against the bill: Chris Ackerley of Sahuarita; Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix; Noel Campbell of Prescott, and Michelle Ugenti-Rita of Scottsdale. Republican Bob Robson of Chandler did not vote.
Democratic representatives voting against the bill: Lela Alston of Phoenix; Richard Andrade of Glendale; Jennifer Benally of Tuba City; Reg Bolding, Mark Cardenas and Ken Clark, all of Phoenix; Diego Espinoza of Tolleson; Carlene Fernandez of Yuma; Randall Friese of Tucson; Rosanna Gabaldon of Green Valley; Albert Hale of St. Michaels; Matt Kopec of Tucson; Jonathan Larkin of Glendale; Stefanie Mach of Tucson; Debbie McCune Davis of Phoenix; Juan Mendez of Tempe; Eric Meyer of Phoenix; Lisa Otondo of Yuma; Celeste Plumlee of Tempe; Rebecca Rios of Phoenix; Macario Saldate of Tucson; Ceci Velasquez of Litchfield Park, and Bruce Wheeler of Tucson.
Democrat Sally Ann Gonzales of Tucson did not vote.
Something to think about, as you consider who best represents your interests.