FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Danny Hernandez
(PHOENIX) June 4, 2015 – Regrouping from her failed attack last week on the voter-approved Clean Elections Act, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is now attempting to co-opt a court case involving the Citizens Clean Elections Commission’s (CCEC) enforcement action on an out-of-state, dark money group, Legacy Foundation Action Fund. The law, enforced in every election since passage by voters in 1998, provides disclosure to voters of who is trying to influence our elections. In the Legacy Foundation case, it was the 2014 Republican Governor’s primary election.
Arizona’s Supreme Court settled this matter over ten years ago. Additionally, while the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizen’s United decision was a win for dark money, the decision still encouraged the disclosure of campaign money as a good course of action. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that, “prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters.”
“Wisely, voters passed the Citizens Clean Elections Act and created an independent commission to enforce campaign disclosure rules that some elected officials prefer to ignore,” said AZAN Executive Director Sam Wercinski. “By attacking accountability in our elections, the Secretary’s political maneuvering underscores the need for a strong Commission to enforce the Act.”
In May, the CCEC proposed rules to stop shell corporations, like Legacy Foundation, from using secret, dark money to influence our elections. The SoS threatened to sue the CCEC for acting on behalf of voters. Then, in a failed attempt to gain public support ahead of the July 23 CCEC meeting, the Secretary’s office used tax dollars and staff to conduct a biased, unscientific poll, believing the public would support her attack against the CCEC. Instead, 80% of those responding favored the CCEC over the SoS.
“The Secretary of State should be working with the Commission to strengthen the integrity of our elections. Instead, she is undermining the authority of voters and encouraging the use of secret, dark money as the dominant force in elections and policymaking.” Wercinski added.
The CCEC is empowered by voters “To implement and to administer the Citizens Clean Elections Act fairly, faithfully and fully.” The CCEC, unlike the Secretary’s office, is nonpartisan, and encourages public input before making important decisions using an open meeting process. Arizonans can read the proposed rule changes
. Comments and questions should be sent to the CCEC at firstname.lastname@example.org. These will be included in the public record and considered by the commission before deciding on any new campaign finance rules.
About AZAN: Arizona Advocacy Network works for electoral justice, political rights and full civic participation to achieve government of, by and for the People. Our work includes: strengthening Arizona's Clean Elections system; advocating for full, immediate disclosure of all campaign contributions; promoting anti-corruption and conflict of interest laws including gift bans; guarding voting rights, voter registration and election integrity; defending Arizona’s judicial merit selection system, and protecting Arizona's ballot initiative and referendum processes. Read more at www.AZadvocacy.org