Yesterday Glenn Hamer at the Arizona Chamber published a great piece on the defective and highly misleading “Clean Elections” ballot initiative, a measure that would substantially increase taxpayer money for politicians to fund their campaigns.
The article included an excellent catch on their part, discovering and exposing the hypocrisy of the liberal groups pushing the measure. In addition to more taxpayer money for politicians, the initiative proposes new draconian campaign finance laws that require non-profit organizations (such as the Club, NRA or NFIB) that support or oppose ballot measures to register all of their contributors and supporters onto a government database.
The Club strongly opposes the creation of a government registry that tracks the issues and causes people support, and so it seems the backers of the initiative do so as well. To date, the three liberal organizations funding the ballot measure (Environment AZ Inc.,AZ Advocacy Network and Every Voice) have not disclosed any of their donors for the effort, in direct violation of their initiative.
If their initiative were law today, they would be subject to audits, investigations, fines and possible dissolution of their organizations. If they can’t even follow the draconian rules set forth in their own initiative, how do they expect the rest of us to. Rules for thee, not for me must be their motto.
Below is the article from the Chamber in its entirety:
Hamer Times: The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act is taxpayer-funded politics on steroids
If you believe individuals and businesses in Arizona should be able to engage in the political process without barriers that limit speech or that make compliance so cumbersome as to discourage participation, then you need to be aware of a concerted effort to quash political speech in this state.
Here are four things you need to know about a speech-chilling initiative that could be coming to the fall ballot:
The Arizona Clean and Accountable Elections Act is taxpayer-funded politics on steroids. If you don’t like the current scheme of taxpayer-funded political campaigns in Arizona, then brace yourself for this initiative attempting to secure a spot on the November ballot. It recycles bad ideas like installing a new matching funds provision and a new tax credit of up to $10 per tax filer, and it would put the unelected Clean Elections Commission in charge of campaign finance enforcement instead of the secretary of state, who is held accountable to the voters.
Tax dollars for politicians? Of all the things Arizonans’ tax dollars could go toward – education, transportation, health care – paying for junk mail and robocalls doesn’t make the list by a longshot. But the backers of the initiative would rather divert tax dollars from the general fund into candidate campaigns, which means that all of us, regardless of whether we support taxpayer-funded elections, are paying the price for this scheme. To add insult to injury, this new initiative would increase the base amount of money candidates get to run their campaigns. In the past, these checks to politicians have been used for campaign expenditures like nights on the town and margarita machines. Talk about voter contact!
Do as we say… Under the initiative, any entity that spends more than $10,000 supporting or opposing a ballot measure would be required to provide a list of names to the Clean Elections Commission that contributed more than $1,000 to the organization. This isn’t disclosure, it’s intimidation. Individuals should be able to contribute to politically engaged organizations without being tracked by the government.
…but not as we do. With all of the campaign’s soaring rhetoric about transparency and disclosure, surely the Clean and Accountable Elections Campaign is disclosing the source of every one of its dollars, right?
Not so much.
According to filings with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office and the campaign website, the campaign is funded by something called Environment Arizona, Inc. (which shares an office with Arizona PIRG) and an out-of-state entity called Every Voice.
Who funds these groups? According to Every Voice’s website, one of their top contributors is “Anonymous” as well as non-profit groups and labor unions.
We’re sure the list of the contributors who make up this network of donors will be published any day now…
Don’t buy this initiative’s claims of transparency and better politics. It’s nothing more than another attempt to put taxpayers on the hook for campaigns and to mute the speech of individuals and businesses that would exercise their voice in the political arena.