Home / Election 2014 / Elections officials allege ‘dark money’ group breaking AZ law, call for investigation

Elections officials allege ‘dark money’ group breaking AZ law, call for investigation

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office has asked the attorney general to investigate the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, which has spent more than $1.6 million in so-called “dark money” to influence voters in the 2014 election, for violating state campaign finance laws.

In a letter sent Aug. 15, State Elections Director Christina Estes-Werther explained that the group’s spending may qualify it as a political committee, which would require disclosure of the group’s contributors or donors.

In a letter earlier this month to the Secretary of State’s Office, the Free Enterprise Club reported spending about $3.5 million dollars since January of 2013, of which $1.3 million, or about 37 percent, was spent for political activity. That does not include more recent spending activity, including television ads opposing gubernatorial candidate Scott Smith.

The call for an investigation into the group comes after the Secretary of State asked the group, among other groups spending anonymously in political races, to detail how its activity comports with campaign finance laws.

The Secretary of State also asked for similar explanations from Save Our Future Now, Friends of Arizona, The Arizona Business Coalition and The 60 Plus Association. Attorneys representing the groups questioned the authority of and the guidance from the Secretary of State on the matter in response to the Secretary of State.

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