Gov. Jan Brewer on April 1 signed a bill that requires extensive disclosure of campaign spending by corporations and labor unions, which are now permitted to spend as much money as they want on political advertisements because of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.
The bill, H2788, requires corporations and labor unions to file campaign finance reports with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office within one day of spending an aggregate of $5,000 on a statewide race, $2,500 in a legislative race and $1,000 in a local or county race. The legislation was prompted the U.S. Supreme Court’s January ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, which lifted a decades-old ban on direct election spending by corporations and labor unions.
The bill, sponsored by House Speaker Kirk Adams, was introduced at the request of Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who said it is important to require transparency in the independent expenditure committees that corporations and unions are now allowed to form.
Arizona was one of 23 states that prohibited such spending prior to the Citizens United ruling. The bill passed 55-0 in the House and 30-0 in the Senate.
Under the new state law, independent expenditures created by companies and unions must register with the Secretary of State, and all campaign ads created by the committees must clearly state who paid for them. The law does not apply to federal campaigns, which are regulated by the FEC.