Whether you call it “dark money” or “dirty money,” Arizonans agree: Money from secret, undisclosed sources is polluting our elections and should be outlawed.
For a state with so much sunshine, Arizona seems to be in the dark when it comes to transparency in political spending. Political cash from undisclosed sources is corrupting politics in Arizona and allowing deep-pocket donors and large corporations to influence our elections while hiding their identity. No matter who is doing it, on the right or on the left, it’s wrong.
We are in the crucial final days of a petition drive to put the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative on the November ballot. If voters approve, this measure will affirm our right to know exactly who is trying to persuade us to support or oppose a candidate or a ballot proposition. It will amend the Arizona constitution to require public disclosure of the “original source” of any contribution of $2,500 or more that is used to influence an election, even if that contribution was transferred many times to try to hide its source.
Arizona is the ideal location for this 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, Arizona statewide campaigns saw $28 million in noncandidate spending for statewide candidates of which an estimated $18 million was dirty. That percentage was the highest in the nation, by far. Anonymous and often out-of-state special interests looking to advance hidden agendas have taken control of much of Arizona government.
Tucson has really come through in getting the signatures needed to qualify the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative for the November ballot. Not only have several super-volunteers in Tucson exceeded the 500-signature mark, the total signature numbers collected by over 350 area volunteers surpassed the Pima County percentage of the state population in proportion to the 300,000-signature goal.
Despite this great effort, Outlaw Dirty Money needs still more signatures to make it to the ballot. We can meet our goal by the July 5 deadline only if many more Arizona voters show how much they want to clean up our elections by turning in their signatures during these final three weeks.
Outlaw Dirty Money is a nonpartisan campaign. As a Democrat and a Republican, we are supporting this effort because “dirty money” hurts both parties alike. Candidates on both sides of the political aisle have been targeted by anonymous political spending.
All shades of political opinion support transparency from conservatives such as former Arizona Attorneys General Grant Woods and Tom Horne to progressives such as Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans and Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell and congressmen Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego, just to name a few. We are proud to count Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild as a supporter.
Reaching our signature goal is a tall order, but it’s within reach. If you believe in transparency and a voter’s right to know, please sign our petition. If you can, please circulate a petition. We ask our fellow citizens who care about Arizona’s history and the promise of its future, to join us in restoring the integrity of our elections. Get involved today in this effort to outlaw “dirty money” in our state.
Arizona can make history and show the way for the rest of the nation. Join us and be part of that history.