Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has begun an effort to try and make monetary donations more transparent in political campaigns. Also known as “dark money,” the issue has been raised by numerous candidates over the past previous election cycles, mainly by Democrats, who see it as immoral to take money from special interest groups and corporations.
“We spent the time in between broadening the base, not too many people were involved in that petition effort,” Goddard said of the new attempt to have the petition on the ballot by the 2018 election. Goddard was referring to efforts made by past legislative sessions to sign bills that would require candidates to show where their donations come from in a more transparent fashion.
To get the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment,” on the ballot for the 2018 election, Goddard and his allies need over 2,500 signatures.
However, despite all the momentum the Democrats believe they have in getting it to be on the ballot, there are those, including the Governor who believe that such an amendment will curtail free speech. “I’ve always been a fan of more transparency, but I think people have a First Amendment right as to participate and not to be bullied,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said.
Republicans and Democrats differ vastly on the role of money in politics, with many Democrats opposing the right to monetary political donations saying that it corrupts the process and say that the public should have a right to know where the money of people who are donating it comes from.
The Citizens United decision also polarized the two sides. In January of 2010, the United States Supreme Court ruled five to four that the United States Government cannot restrict monetary donations to political candidates. The Democrats have been strongly opposed to the ruling since 2010 and have made the supreme court case a campaign issue.
The ballot initiative must be passed by July 5, to get on the November 2018 ballot.
“It’s a hard job, but I think it’s possible, or I wouldn’t be doing it,” Goddard continued.
The last time Arizona had any bills signed that related to money in politics, was in March 2016. In Senate bill 1516, the Governor signed a law that loosened the regulations revolving around money in political campaigns.
“Laws that relate to free speech should not be so complicated that everyday Arizonans willing to participate in public service have to hire lawyers and accountants to get involved,” Ducey said in March 2016 after signing the bill into law.
Like almost every topic in American society, the bill was debated bitterly in Arizona’s House and Senate. However, unlike many of the partisan topics, there was a split in voting, where many Republicans and Democrats voted both for and against the legislation.
“It quashes participation for anyone who else doesn’t have the price of admission,” Arizona Senator, Steve Farley (D-Tucson), said following the passage of the bill. Democrats argue that the bill favors the billionaires over the average Arizonan.
Ultimately, people shouldn’t have to worry about being bullied for making political donations to a candidate they chose, but on the other hand there should be a counter balance to be able to see where monetary donations to political candidates come from. Transparency is the only way to know what is influencing the decision making process in America.
Links to sources:
- Azfamily.com – http://www.azfamily.com/story/36957098/initiative-seeks-disclosure-of-dark-money-donors
- kjzz.com – https://kjzz.org/content/573275/arizona-voters-could-see-stop-dirty-money-amendment-2018-ballot
- AzCentral.com – https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2016/03/31/arizona-gov-doug-ducey-signs-darkmoney-bill/82492558/