Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com
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.
Oh brother. Yes, it’s true. The message is clear that if you Democrats want the Dark Money initiative you have to sign on to the craptastic Top Two Primary, that only “works” by demolishing progressive Democrats in Arizona. But it’ll be fine that Democrats are discouraged from running in numerous races so as pave the way for “moderate” Republicans to win jungle primaries, as Republic columnist Linda Valdez (who likes Top Two) assured me on Facebook recently, since we’ll know who’s funding everyone!
Except we still don’t know who has donated to this Open and Honest Coalition, since they haven’t disclosed any donors yet. Nor is there ballot language for either measure. Here’s how the Open Primaries Arizona describes them in a press release from Monday:
The Open and Honest Coalition has formed two committees to potentially back two separate, but aligned, initiatives:
Open and Honest Disclosure would require groups who spend money to influence candidate elections to disclose the original source of any contribution in excess of $10,000. With over $15 million of undisclosed money spent in the 2014 election cycle to influence Arizona candidate races, campaign finance disclosure rules must be strengthened to restore integrity and transparency into Arizona’s election system.
Open and Honest Elections would create a level playing field for all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, where they would directly compete under the same rules. It would also allow all voters to participate in elections – removing the current unfair and often burdensome barriers for independent and unaffiliated candidates and voters. Independents are the largest registered group in the State of Arizona, yet they are treated to a completely different set of rules when it comes to running for office and voting in primary elections.
“The American experiment as a constitutional democratic republic is in jeopardy. Voter turnout has dropped in the last two election cycles, more and more Americans are choosing not to identify themselves with political parties, yet those very same parties set the rules which govern our elections and choose our candidates. The American people have lost faith in our government to address some of the fundamental problems facing America today – America is still great, it is our two party system and undisclosed dark money contributions which have broken the system,” said J. Charles Coughlin, President and CEO of HighGround Public Affairs and Co-Chair of the Open and Honest Coalition. “We intend to fix that problem, to establish a level playing field for all candidates and voters and to protect our democracy from the corruption of undisclosed dark money contributions to support candidate elections in Arizona. I am confident, if we are able to get on the ballot, Arizonans will overwhelmingly support both of these amendments to promote Open and Honest Elections in Arizona.”
“I believe it is time for change in how we elect people to public office! The younger generations need something to believe in when it comes to our government system and the way we elect public officials. We need an election process that will bring us together to address the issues we all care about, such as Education, Employment, Immigration, and many others,” added Danny Ortega, an Open and Honest Coalition co-chair and former Board Chair of the National Council of La Raza.
The coalition is hoping to file ballot language by the end of January on both amendments. They are working to secure over $10 million in financial support from both local and national sources to back both efforts. In the upcoming weeks, the coalition will announce additional co-chairs to demonstrate that efforts to increase fairness and transparency are backed by a broad left/right coalition of business, community, civic and political leaders from Arizona.
The first description, which obviously deals with campaign finance disclosure, is a straightforward description of what the initiative will do. The second is the Top Two primary one and it is, of course, a whole lot of meaningless word salad. But notice how Chuck Coughlin – prime architect of SB1070 and Terry Goddard’s defeat in 2010 for Governor who has, it should be said, not shied away from praising dark money in the past – weaves a reminder about ending “corruption of undisclosed dark money contributions” into his pitch. Just in case you Democrats forgot you had better support this Top Two piece of garbage if you want your Dark Money initiative.