Dark Money Group Appeal Tossed
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Danny Hernandez
(PHOENIX) June 17, 2015 – Last week, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen dismissed a case involving the investigation and fine by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) of on an out-of-state, ‘dark money’ group, Legacy Foundation Action Fund (LFAF).
The Secretary of State, using private counsel rather than the Attorney General, attempted to use the case to weaken the authority of the independent, nonpartisan CCEC to enforce disclosure provisions of the voter approved Citizens Clean Elections Act (the Act). Judge McClennen’s decision was based on procedural grounds and arguments presented by the CCEC. Because the Secretary was not granted standing in this case, her claims remain a political attack against the Act and the effective use of voter-granted authority reasonably exercised by the CCEC.
“The enforcement of the voter approved, Citizens Clean Elections Act is essential to stopping the rise of secret, dark money and the increased political cronyism that accompanies it,” said Sam Wercinski, executive director of Arizona Advocacy Network (AZAN). “The abusive use of unaccountable money by corporations and out-of-state groups, like Legacy Foundation, to mislead voters has become the dominant factor in elections since Citizens United.”
Dr. Doris Marie Provine, the Board President for AZAN added, “The Secretary of State should pursue her 2014 campaign goals to fight dark money and work with the Clean Elections Commission rather than against the will of the voters.”
The mission of the CCEC is “to implement and to administer the Citizens Clean Elections Act fairly, faithfully and fully.” Arizonans passed the Act in 1998 in response to a string of political corruption scandals. The Act established an independent, nonpartisan commission to administer and enforce provisions created to improve the integrity of Arizona elections.
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. Learn more at www.AZadvocacy.org.