Right now, wealthy and powerful corporations and people spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence our votes, all while hiding who they are.
We believe Arizonans have a right to know who is behind political Dirty Money, so they can make their voting decisions based on complete information.
Outlaw Dirty Money is seeking an amendment to the Arizona Constitution to protect our Right to Know who is spending money to influence our elections and elected officials.
To qualify for the November 2018 ballot, we must collect 300,000 signatures from registered AZ voters.
We are a volunteer-driven army, with none of our petitions being passed by paid circulators. In order to succeed, we need your help gathering signatures and reaching out to your networks.
Have you been seeing these ads lately? They say that our view of Arizona’s education system is too negative and much too lopsided and that public education in Arizona is actually on the upswing. Nevermind that the US News and World Report ranks Arizona 48th in the nation or that the Center for Student Achievement gives Arizona a D-, or that Governor Ducey supported and signed a bill to further defund public education and replace it with a voucher system just last year.
These facts are inconvenient for some folks. They want you to have a rosy view of public education in Arizona since Governor Ducey is up for re-election this year. So they spend millions of dollars on advertising to persuade you that public education funding in Arizona is rising under Ducey. Funny that they neglect to tell you that the reason funding has risen is the result of a lawsuit – that they lost. Or that the cause of the lawsuit was cutbacks in education funding over many years – cuts that Ducey supported.
So who are they? They call themselves “The Arizona Education Project.” They are a registered “social welfare” corporation with the Arizona Corporation Commission. They claim their ads are not political, though their message cannot be distinguished from Governor Ducey’s campaign talking points and their officers of record happen to also be large contributors to Governor Ducey’s political campaign. They blanket us with a media messages touting their opinions about public education, while the source of their funding remains a secret. Our recourse? Thanks to many volunteers, who gathered petition signatures throughout the state, we will have the opportunity to vote against Ducey’s voucher system by supporting Proposition 204 in November.
But what about the next issue? This is what keeps me up at night. How can we, as voters educate ourselves to evaluate the barrage of political advertising that will be coming our way this fall? Wouldn’t you like to know who underwrites these materials? Aren’t voters entitled to know whose interests are served by our vote? It would help if we could determine who is footing the bill for the advertising.
Arizona election laws require contributors to political organizations to be identified, and there are limits on the amount of money they can contribute. Candidate committees, PACS, and other political organizations must report the source of their donations. But thanks to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, non-profit “social welfare” corporations, like The Arizona Education Project, can engage in as much political speech as they like, without having to divulge who is actually paying for it. After the 2010 Citizens United decision the number of “social welfare” organizations like The Arizona Education Project increased by 60%. Nationally, spending by these groups increased from $86 million in the election cycle before the decision, to $257 million in the election cycle immediately after the decision. We now have an election system that can be bought by anonymous billionaires. What kind of a democracy is that?
Since election laws are made at the state level, one thing we can do is shine a light on political spending is to require the identification of all funders of political speech in Arizona. Petitions are currently circulating throughout the state to put this requirement in the State Constitution. The Stop Political Dirty Money constitutional amendment would require all organizations that expend $10,000 or more on political speech to identify the original source of contributions of money, goods, or services with a monetary value of $2500 or more. This amendment is aimed at the big spenders, not small organizations with many small contributors. We are talking about corporations that spend millions to sway an election. The result will be that corporations that engage in political speech in Arizona are treated the same as individual donors and political organizations when it comes to fiscal transparency.
Election integrity is the soul of democracy. An informed electorate is crucial to preserving the ideals that are the bedrock of American life. Currently, anonymous segments of our population are empowered, by their great wealth, to control the information we receive to inform our vote. Why are they hiding? Why shouldn’t they have to abide by the same rules as the rest of us, who support political causes with contributions in line with our capabilities? We need to get the Stop Political Dirty Money constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall. We need to take a lesson from our founding fathers and rise up to protect the democratic process.
Would You Like to Help?
Contact Travonne Smith
cell: (520) 329-2195
Visit website http://outlawdirtymoney.com | Facebook Page