Tag Archives: dark money

War of the Roses: the ‘Kochtopus’ vs. the Party of Trump

Hopefully this family feud will end as badly for them as it did for Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas) and Barbara Rose (Kathleen Turner) in The War of The Roses (1989), with both sides destroying one another in the bitter end.

Maybe they can use one of the chandeliers at Mar-a-Lago, or the Trump Hotel in D.C.

The “Kochtopus” network and the Party of Trump fka the Republican Party apparently are feuding with one another after having enabled one another in 2016 in order to achieve their mutual goal of trickle down tax cuts for corporations and wealthy plutocrats. Now that they got what they both wanted, their annoyances with their differences are now coming to the fore.

Top officials with the “Kochtopus” donor network affiliated with billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch last weekend sought to distance the network from the Republican Party and President Trump, citing tariff and immigration policies and “divisive” rhetoric out of Washington. Koch group condemns ‘divisiveness’ and ‘lack of leadership’ in Washington:

At a gathering of hundreds of donors at the Broadmoor resort here, officials reiterated their plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle. Earlier this year, they announced heavy spending aimed at helping Republicans to hold the Senate. But in a warning shot at Trump and the GOP, network co-chair Brian Hooks lamented “tremendous lack of leadership” in Trump’s Washington and the “deterioration of the core institutions of society.”

He called out the White House and Trump-allied GOP lawmakers, particularly over trade policy and increased federal spending, and added that “the divisiveness of this White House is causing long-term damage.”

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Dark Money files challenge to Outlaw Dirty Money initiative to deny voters a say

The usual suspects from the “Kochtopus,” who have fostered Arizona’s culture of corruption for years, have filed a challenge to the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative to keep it from the ballot, and deny Arizona citizens their right to vote on regulating their corrosive dark money spending in our elections.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Suit filed to stop dark money ballot:

Officials of two organizations known for anonymous [dark money] spending on political campaigns filed suit late Thursday to keep Arizonans from voting on a measure that would make the practice illegal.

The lawsuit charges that some of the paid circulators for the “Outlaw Dirty Money” campaign did not register ahead of time with the Secretary of State’s office as required by law. GOP Attorney Kory Langhofer also said that out-of-state residents who were carrying petitions also failed to register.

Langhofer claimed several other violations of initiative requirements, including that some circulators were convicted felons who had not had their civil rights restored. That, he said, makes them ineligible to gather signatures.

Among the plaintiffs are Scot Mussi, executive director of the Free Enterprise Club, and Andrew Clark, state director of Americans for Prosperity. Both organizations have made repeated expenditures in Arizona elections both to support candidates of their choice and to oppose others.

More to the point, both say their groups do not have to disclose their donors. That is based on their status under the federal tax code as “social welfare organizations” which are permitted to spend up to half their revenues on elections without being considered campaign committees.

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Let the games begin! APS tries to keep the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative off the ballot

Here is a factoid to make the butt pucker of anyone who believes in democracy:

The state’s largest electric utility – APS – already has set aside close to $11 million to make elections this year come out the way it wants.

Is this what your monthly utility bill really goes to — subverting your constitutional right to a citizens initiative — and using your money to do it? Is this what the Founding Fathers really intended?

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Utility’s parent company spends millions to sway elections:

New campaign finance reports show Pinnacle West Capital Corp., the parent company of Arizona Public Service, has put $7.53 million in its bid to keep voters from approving [the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative] which would require half of all power generated in the state come from renewable sources by 2030.

Matt Benson, spokesman for Arizonans for Affordable Electricity, the campaign committee set up by Pinnacle West, said it makes sense for the company, whose income is generated by ratepayers, to spend that kind of money.

But much of what Pinnacle West has spent so far has nothing to do with voter education but to keep the issue off the ballot entirely. It has paid $5.9 million to Arizona Petition Partners, part of what Benson said is an effort to go through the signatures submitted by Steyer’s group and see how many can be disqualified.

On this front, APS-backed group sues over clean energy ballot measure, claims 300K invalid signatures:

A group funded by the state’s largest utility is suing to keep a clean energy initiative off the ballot.

Arizonans for Affordable Electricity, a political action committee whose funding comes from Arizona Public Service Co. parent company Pinnacle West Capital Corp., claim proponents of the clean energy plan did not gather enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, backed by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, turned in more than 480,000 signatures in early July, more than double the required 225,963 signatures needed to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot.

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Release the Kraken, er, Kochtopus!

But of course they did.

The Trump administration has ordered “Release the Kraken er, Kochtopus!” from IRS “dark money” campaign contribution reporting regulations.

Now corporations and wealthy plutocrats are free to operate entirely in the dark, even from the IRS. ‘Dark money’ groups don’t need to disclose donors to IRS, Treasury says:

Nonprofits that spend money to influence elections but are not required to disclose donors to the public — called “dark money” groups by critics — no longer need to share their donors’ names or addresses in their tax filings under a new Treasury rule announced Monday.

The decision was immediately heralded by free-speech corporatist advocates who have long sought to protect donors’ private information. But it was rebuked by those who want to reduce the role of money in politics, who claim it would make U.S. elections more susceptible to anonymous foreign donations.

How significant is the change? Here is what you need to know.

What is this new rule about?

Wealthy donors can give unlimited sums of money to politically active nonprofits registered under sections of the Internal Revenue Service code, without their names or addresses being revealed in the nonprofits’ public tax filings.

There has been a surge of political activity by such nonprofit groups since the 2010 landmark Supreme Court Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums on campaigns.

These donors’ names, addresses and donation amounts were previously reported to the IRS, but the IRS would redact the names and addresses for public release.

With this policy change, the organizations will still be required to retain the donor information, but no longer have to submit it to the IRS.

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With Solid Support from Educators, Steve Farley Can Oust Gov. Ducey

One year into his campaign for Governor, Democratic candidate Steve Farley is on a roll. Polls show that  Gov. Ducey is vulnerable, Farley has raised $1.1 million in contributions, and his message of rebuilding Arizona’s impoverished schools is resonating with Democrats.

“I’m the only Democratic candidate who’s been elected to public office and I’ve been in the Legislature for 12 years,” he said at a recent campaign stop in Tucson. “I’m the only Democratic candidate who has ever won an election, and I’ve won 6 in a row. I know how to win.”

It’s about 60 days before early ballots drop in the primary election, which will be held on August 28, and Farley is crossing the state to see voters, debating his primary challenger David Garcia, and even talking on conservative talk radio.

Farley is the state Senator from legislative district 9 (Casa Adobes and the Foothills in Tucson) and is on the Appropriations and the Finance committees. He is the Assistant Minority Leader in the state Senate.

“I speak good “Republican,'” he quipped. “I go on conservative talk radio a lot and like to preach to the unconverted. People call in and say, ‘I’ve never heard a Democrat speak before, but you make sense.’ With that kind of change in thinking, we can make something good happen.”

Teacher Raises

Farley was the first elected official to call for a 20% raise for teachers more than a year ago and this has cemented his support from teachers in the #RedForEd movement.
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AZ’s Worst Legislator: Vince Leach, not a Servant of the People in LD 11

State Representative Leach favors dark money and subsidizing the rich.

State Representative Leach favors dark money and subsidizing the rich.

State Representative Vincent Leach of Legislative District 11 and other reactionary zealots like him sure act like big government promoters when it comes to their anti-democratic agenda.

Leach has sponsored ideas such as:

  • Protecting Dark Money contributors.
  • Overruling local election results and ballot initiatives, such as whether local towns can prohibit plastic bags in stores.
  • Opposing a woman’s right to choose.
  • Allowing taxpayer money to help students choose private religious schools.

LD11 spans from Maricopa in the north to the tip of Tucson in the south.

A self-described conservative, Leach has an A rating from both the Oliver North led National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union, yet poor marks with the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, and the Children’s Action Alliance. A SaddleBrooke resident, Representative Leach has been in the Arizona State House since 2015. He is now the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Resources and Vice Chairman of the House and Ways Committee.

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