What is Dirty Money

How Dirty Money Affects People in Arizona

Dirty Money means anonymous political donations, sometimes called Dark Money.  Jane Mayer wrote the definitive book on how much secret political cash has taken control of our Country in a book  entitled  “Dark Money”. 

These secret contributions have been used to support or oppose candidates and initiatives in Arizona in the interest  of the hidden contributor, not Arizonans. 

In 2014, $10.7 million in dark money was spent by one company, Arizona Public Service, to elect two members of the electricity rate setting Arizona Corporation Commission.  Once elected, those candidates voted to  increase APS electric rates by $95 MILLION DOLLARS against the recommendations of Commission staff!

In 2018, a group named “Building a Better Phoenix” started receiving Dark Money from the infamous Koch brothers to stop the light rail extension in Phoenix. One of the Koch brother’s most profitable businesses is Flint Hills Resources LP, which is an oil refining company.  Oil that Arizonans would be using less of if our cities had better public transportation options. They have been fighting this kind of change for decades.

These are just a few examples of how outside forces are affecting YOUR lives for THEIR gain.  Due to dark money’s clandestine nature it is very hard to track. However, research shows that in 2014 alone at least $8,705,144 of dark money contributions were used in Arizona elections.  It’s time we know WHO is trying to buy our elections and influence our votes.  So how are we going to do it?

Read the Amendment

Outlaw Dirty Money is a common-sense reform with wide, bi-partisan support.  You can read the text here.  It establishes that:

  • Arizona voters have a right to know who is spending to influence their elections
  • Organizations spending more than $20,000 in state races or $10,000 in local races must report the original source of their funding.
  • Organizations must disclose all original contributors who gave $5,000 or more in an election cycle.
  • Original source is defined as the person or company that earned the money, thereby removing the existing practice of creating a maze of organizations to hide the original source.
  • The Citizens Clean Election Commission, a popular and effective regulatory body, is empowered to write and enforce the regulations to implement the Outlaw Dirty Money Constitutional Amendment.
  • Voters can file a complaint directly with the Clean Elections Commission to report violations of this.
  • Local governments can pass more stringent requirements than those set forth in this Amendment.

Voters in Phoenix (85% support) and Tempe (91% support) have passed similar measures in recent years. It’s time for transparency in all Arizona elections. It’s time to Outlaw Dirty Money.

Issue One 

One of the primary campaign finance causes that unites Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, is ridding elections at the local, state and federal level of the scourge of political “dark money.” 

Dark money comes into politics in many forms — from opaque limited liability companies (LLCs) to secretive “social welfare” organizations and trade associations, to name a few. Today, dark money groups work to support and oppose members of both political parties, in primaries and general elections, all with untraceable cash whose donors often only come to light years after the elections are decided, if at all. 

Issue One is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to political reform and government ethics in order to strengthen democracy and return government to the American people. Learn more at issueone.org. 

View this infographic for more Dark Money Information

Source: https://www.opensecrets.org/darkmoney/dark-money-basics/shadow-infographic.php

Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation coined the phrase “Dark Money” in October of 2010.  Dark money refers to anonymous political donations, mainly through LLC’s, secretive social welfare organizations and trade associations. These contributions are used to support or oppose initiatives in Arizona in the favor of the contributor, not Arizonans. 

Learn more about Bill Allison here

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