We are in the crucial final days of an effort to give voters the opportunity to clean house when it comes to dirty political spending. The people of Arizona should have the right to know the real source of all money spent to influence our vote.
Right now petitions are being circulated to get the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment” on the November ballot. If voters approve, the measure would amend the Arizona constitution to require public disclosure of any contributor who spends $2,500 or more to influence an election during a two-year cycle, even if that contribution was passed through a third-party organization.
For a state with so much sunshine, we seem to be in the dark when it comes to transparency in political spending. Anonymous political spending has tainted politics in Arizona and allowed deep pocket donors to influence our elections while hiding their involvement. No matter who is doing it, on the right or on the left, it’s wrong.
Whether you call it Dark Money or Dirty Money, most Arizonans agree it needs to go away. But, our measure to make election spending more transparent won’t make it to the ballot box without the signatures of 225,000 Arizona voters by July 5th. We are on track to meet that number if lots of work gets done in these final weeks. We are just asking for the opportunity to put this before the voters in November. There’s information available about the initiative and where to sign petitions at www.OutlawDirtyMoney.com.
One of us is a Democrat, the other a Republican. There are organizations that target candidates on both sides of the political aisle with anonymous political spending. That’s one of the reasons support for this amendment comes from across the political spectrum. Our efforts have been endorsed by conservatives such as former Arizona Attorneys General Grant Woods and Tom Horne; as well as progressives such as Congressmen Ruben Gallego and Raul Grijalva and former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, just to name a few. We are proud to have Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans in support, as well as Jim Babbitt, Helene Babbitt and Art Babbott, all of Flagstaff.
Oulaw Dirty Money has been endorsed by nonpartisan groups including the Arizona League of Women Voters, The Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, AAUW of Arizona Public Policy, the Arizona NAACP, Represent US, Voters Right to Know, and several branches of Indivisible, including Flagstaff.
Arizona is the ideal location to start a citizen’s movement to reclaim our elections process. That’s because we are currently the “Dirty Money” capital of the Nation. During the 2014 election cycle there was $28 million in noncandidate spending for statewide candidates. An estimated $18 million was dirty. The percentage was by far the highest in the nation.
Polling shows that Arizonans overwhelmingly support our efforts and would vote yes on the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment” if given the opportunity.
We call on all Arizonans who care about bringing integrity to our elections process to sign or circulate a petition. Dirty money hurts Democrats and Republicans because it shifts power from Arizona voters to anonymous and often out-of-state special interests looking to advance hidden agendas.
Arizona can make history and show the way for the rest of the Nation. Join us and be part of that history.
How to get involved
–Sign the petition this Saturday, June 16, at Buffalo Park: 9 to 11 a.m. or 5 to 7 p.m.
–For information on circulating petitions, contact Helene Babbitt at (928) 699-7902 or firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-633-5146 or visit www.OutlawDirtyMoney.com.
Terry Goddard is Co-Chairman of Outlaw Dirty Money, the former Mayor of Phoenix, and served as Arizona Attorney General from 2003 to 2011. Vernon Parker is the former Mayor of Paradise Valley and a GOP nominee for Congress in 2012.