Thursday, July 30, 2015

AZ SOS Michele Reagan Says Will Sue Clean Elections Over "Dark Money" SOS Response

Before I published the below article I gave SOS Michele Reagan an opportunity to resond via e-mail. Her response is below article.
Image result for michele reagan arizona
The Arizona Clean Elections Commission has proposed requiring dark-money groups to quit hiding and reveal who is funding their drives to get certain people elected.
The Secretary of State's Office is threatening to sue if the Clean Elections Commission so much as tries to aim a flashlight into any of this state's dark places.Unless the agency backs down on a proposed rule that would require some campaign committees to reveal their donors, a lawsuit is "inevitable," state Elections Director Eric Spencer told the five commissioners.
In another life time then Senator Michele Reagan (R-Scottsdale) chair of the Senate Elections Committee was pushing to unmask dark-money donors. She sponsored a measure (SB1403) that would require independent expenditure committees in state and local elections to reveal the “identifiable contributors” to their campaigns, even though these funds came to them through a chain of organizations.
"We open up a very big dark door if we start saying that anything's a go in this state," she told Laurie Robert columnist for the AZ Republic in December 2013 while preparing her bill. "You're basically saying then our elections are for sale and not just for sale, but the public can't find out who paid for it."
Reagan as a candidate for Secretary of State touted her unsuccessful bill and said the state must push for more disclosure of dark money." Do not let them fool you," she wrote. "It does not need to be a complicated issue."

Now that she won the election SOS Michele Reagan no longer believes the state can require dark-money groups to disclose who is bankrolling their campaigns. Reagan won't or can’t try to regulate the dark money that is attempting to buy Arizona's elections but she'll sue anybody else who's willing to try. Why won’t she at least try to fulfill a campaign promise?
From: Michele Reagan
Sent: Thursday, July 30, 2015 11:06 AM
To: barbaraespinosa@q.com ; Roberts, Matt
Thanks for the heads up, would love a chance to respond.  My comments...
The Secretary of State's office is concerned with what the Clean Elections Commission is trying to do with regards to expanding its own authority by a simple vote of its own board.  This should be troubling to any Arizonan, regardless of how noble the goal of the Clean Election board's mission.  What other agency gets to make their own laws without going through the Legislature, or more importantly, to the People?  Just because the topic deals with dark money, does that make this process ok?  What if the IRS started changing tax code this way?  Would we as a citizenry tolerate it even if some of us agreed with the tax policy they were creating?
Second, there is already a process in place to deal with dark money violations.  The Secretary of State's office reviews the complaint, the Attorney General has the "badge and a gun" to subpoena and audit records.  We just referred what we believe was a flagrant violation of a dark money group to the Attorney General last week.  Should groups be subject to government going after them multiple times by separate agencies for the same crime?  The Arizona Republic editorial wrote an opinion piece that outlines the exact constitutional crisis this could lead to.  See here:
http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/editorial/2015/07/26/arizona-clean-elections-exceeds-authority/30646501/
As Secretary of State, I have a duty to protect the statutory jurisdiction of this office, for not just my term, but for others who will serve in this role long after me.    Michele

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