What does SB1516: Dark Money Act mean for Clean Elections?

SB1516 Dark Money Act

SB.pngAs many of you know, we have been fighting SB1516 (Dark Money Act/ Campaign Finance Overhaul) from day 1. It's a nightmare for campaign finance and has no place in Arizona! Thank you to everyone who made calls and wrote letters urging legislators to vote against it. We came so close in the House! Unfortunately (to put it lightly), it passed by 1 vote and was signed into law. We are very supportive of Rep. Clark's effort to refer SB1516 to the voters. Ideally, SB1516 Dark Money Act will be repealed and the Clean & Accountable Elections initiative will become law and replace the atrocious campaign finance laws we have had for years. 

How does SB1516 effect the Clean and Accountable Elections initiative? 

clean.pngSB1516 does not effect the clean elections component of the initiative and if our initiative passes, regardless of what happens with SB1516, clean elections will still be strengthened. No matter what, the Commission will have explicit authority to go after campaign finance violations and clean elections candidates will get increased funding. The referendum on SB1516 does not effect this at all. 

The other components of the initiative that do conflict with SB1516 will most likely end up in court. However, we feel confident that because our initiative will be put in place by the voters of Arizona and will be voter protected, even in the most conservative court, we should win and the entire Clean and Accountable Elections initiative should become law. 

Does the Clean and Accountable Elections initiative take care of SB1516? 

No. We were not able to incorporate all of SB1516 into our initiative. Go HERE to learn more about repealing SB1516.

What does the Clean and Accountable Elections Act do?

1. Strengthen Clean Elections. The initiative will make sure community leaders with strong public support can run for office free from the influence of wealthy donors and lobbyists. Clean Elections candidates would be encouraged to build a large base of small donors, with donations under $160 matched on a six-to- one basis, up to a limit. The additional funds will be paid for with a $10 tax check-off.

2. Increase disclosure of secret money in elections. This initiative will increase transparency in our elections by requiring outside groups to disclose their big-money donors. Donors that give at least $1,000 to any person or organization that makes an independent expenditure of at least $10,000 must be disclosed.

3. Reduce the influence of wealthy special interests. Contributions to candidates who don’t participate in Clean Elections would be reduced dramatically, with stiff penalties for violating the rules. Legislative contribution limits would fall to $1,000 from individuals and ordinary PACs and $2,000 from Super PACs. Statewide candidates would be limited to $2,500 from individuals and ordinary PACs and $5,000 from Super PACs. Large government contractors with business before the state would be barred from influencing the process by making contributions to candidates and political committees.

4. Reduce the influence of lobbyists. The initiative will close the gift ban loophole that allows lobbyists to pay for lawmakers’ trips and travel and slow the revolving door by doubling the “cooling off” period for elected officials who wish to become lobbyists.

5. Protect voters from intimidation: No eligible voter who takes the responsibility to vote should find themselves intimidated, harassed or deceived in a way that blocks them from exercising their right to vote. This initiative will make these sort of threats and tactics a crime, just like they are in many other states.

Please volunteer today to help us get the Clean and Accountable Elections Act on the ballot. Go HERE to learn more.