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What the Devil won't tell you

Fatal miscalculation: Invest in Ed math error doomed initiative in courts

The Arizona Supreme Court has bounced the Invest In Ed initiative off the ballot. The #RedforEd crew needed a red team to vet the proposition's petition language before they gathered signatures.... Read more»

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Nearly $500K in ‘dark money’ spent on Az legislative primary so far

With just one week until Arizona’s primary election, political spending to affect legislative races paid for by outside groups that don’t disclose the source of the money amounts to almost half a million dollars. The $478,000 in “dark money” was spent in the past six weeks, ramping up after early ballots were mailed.... Read more»

What the Devil won't tell you

Figuring out how time works proving hard for Arizona politicos

Civic-minded folks on both sides of the political divide suddenly seem shocked that April can turn into July in just three months and get whipsawed by the year 2016 preceding 2017. The technology isn't Tinder. It's Stonehenge. And that's why a couple of initiatives won't be on this year's ballot.... Read more»2

What the Devil won't tell you

Full disclosure: Clean Elections measure needs work to push transparency

A citizen's initiative to change state law to — get this — require disclosure and clean up the state's elections faces a big hurdle: getting on the ballot. The idea of disclosure is pretty frickin' simple and would seem to be the bare minimum in an advanced democracy. However, in Arizona even criminal scandal-gates surrounding buying favors aren't enough to rouse action. ... Read more»

Dark money group leads last-minute effort to speed up campaign finance changes

Arizona is already poised to relax rules regarding so-called "dark money" groups starting next year, but a last-minute amendment from the state Senate could make the changes go into effect in less than a month.... Read more»

IRS grants nonprofit status to 'dark money' group founded by Karl Rove

Crossroads GPS gets declared a nonprofit five years after applying, meaning that its donor list can remain private. ... Read more»

The conservative playbook for keeping 'dark money' dark

In internal memos, groups opposing tighter state campaign finance rules coach their local supporters on how to battle disclosure of political donors. Since 2008, dark money groups have spent more than $690 million in federal races. The same story is playing out on the state level, including in Arizona.... Read more»

Secretive nonprofits flourished — and succeeded — in 2014 state elections

Groups that don't disclose donors were more successful with TV ads than other political advertisers. ... Read more»1

Nothing is simple in world of ‘dark money’ politics

Critics say it's hard to peek into so-called 'dark money' groups, which sit at the crossroads of tax law, campaign-finance rules, nonprofit governance and questions of what constitutes 'social good.' But defenders say that anonymity is important to protect truly free political speech.... Read more»

Public has dark opinion of dark money in elections

Dark money spending reached record levels this fall, with little sign of abating, even as polls showed overwhelming numbers of Americans troubled by the practice. In one poll, 80 percent of voters said they were worried that donors were "abusing" the system for their own gain.... Read more»

Arizona cited as ‘special place’ for dark-money operations

Dark money in politics is an issue nationwide but in the words of one expert, Arizona “really is a special place for dark money.” The state, because of its laws or its culture, has become ground zero for a growing number of politically active tax-exempt organizations.... Read more»

Candidate commentary

Goddard: Dark money tries to deceive seniors

The 60 Plus Association describes itself as a "non-partisan seniors advocacy group," but like anything involving dark money, what they say is far from true. 60 Plus is a major player in the fight for Social Security privatization. That proposal was the brainchild of hedge fund managers who would profit from privatization and who write big checks to political organizations, not seniors who rely on Social Security.... Read more»

Comic: Bermudez Shorts

The Martha McSally Show

Good ole Martha McSally is at it again. With a makeover and a snazzy new advertising campaign, she's setting her eyes on Ron Barber once more.... Read more»1

What happens when a dark money group blows off IRS rules? Nothing

To see how easy it is for a dark money group to ignore the Internal Revenue Service, look no further than the loftily named Government Integrity Fund. The group spent most of its money on election ads, despite IRS rules prohibiting a social welfare nonprofit from doing so... Read more»

What newly released docs tell us about the IRS and how it handles dark money groups

A GOP-led House committee voted Wednesday to seek criminal charges against former IRS official Lois Lerner, who used to run the IRS division in charge of tax-exempt groups. In a party-line vote, the committee accused Lerner of unfairly targeting the applications of conservative groups and misleading the Treasury inspector general, which was auditing the IRS based on allegations of bias against conservative groups.... Read more»

Top U.S. corporations funneled $185 million to political nonprofits

The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010 did not, as some warned, unleash a flood of corporate money directly into elections. ... Read more»

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