Record Amount of Dirty Money Flows to Mesa City Council
One thing you may have not noticed in the last City Council election was dirty money flowed into Mesa like it never has, a record $29,514.52. All of this money from one group went into the coffers to elect just one candidate.
If you’ve never heard of dirty money. AZCentral does a good job of explaining it – here. To summarize, dirty or dark money is when non-profits are set up for the sole purpose of influencing elections and they can spend unlimited amounts of money skirting campaign finance laws. Unlike most political campaigns dirty money groups are not required to disclose who is funding them. This effectively gives anonymity to organizations and persons and allows them to spend an unlimited amount of money to buy an election.
Can anything be done about dirty money?
You may recall in 2016 Tempe passed a City Charter amendment outlawing dirty money. An astounding 91% of Tempe voters approved this charter amendment. Then Phoenix ran a similar proposition. It passed with an overwhelming 85% approval. There is now a group “Outlaw Dirty Money” that is pushing to amend the state constitution to fight at the state level. You can find more information about the organization here. Or if you are so inclined you can contribute or volunteer.
Outlaw dirty money amendment in summary
- Arizona voters have a right to know who is spending to influence their elections
- Organizations spending more than $20,000 in state races or $10,000 in local races must report the original source of their funding.
- Organizations must disclose all original contributors who gave $5,000 or more in an election cycle.
- The original source is defined as the person or company that earned the money, thereby removing the existing practice of creating a maze of organizations to hide the original source.
- The Citizens Clean Election Commission, a popular and effective regulatory body, is empowered to write and enforce the regulations to implement the Outlaw Dirty Money Constitutional Amendment.
- Voters can file a complaint directly with the Clean Elections Commission to report violations of this.
- Local governments can pass more stringent requirements than those set forth in this Amendment.
Back to Mesa…
You can see from the City Clerk’s website an entirely new section had to be created called, “Independent Expenditure”. This is due to the fact that we’ve never had this much dark money flow into Mesa, ever.
So how much did they spend, on what, and for who?
You can see from this link they only filed one campaign finance form showing the $29,514.52 donation. All of the donors are shielded through this organization. However, you can see the expenditures as that is required by law.
In this campaign finance form, it shows where the money was spent and for which candidate(s)
Nobody should be able to hide their multi-million-dollar contributions to our politicians every year. I hope you’ll join me in supporting this initiative to provide transparency in our government. We have a right to know who is buying our government and influencing our City Council.