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2014 dark money spending on lawmakers topped $900K

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(Note: This story comes from the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting through a Creative Commons license. AZCIR is a nonprofit investigative newsroom.)

Arizona lawmakers considering a bill that would reduce regulation on groups that spend money in elections without disclosing the source benefitted by more than $900,000 during the 2014 election cycle, in what’s dubbed “dark money” spending.

In the Arizona House of Representatives, roughly $417,000 was spent by dark money groups to help elect 29 of the body’s 60 members. Almost all of that spending — $404,000 — went to help Republican lawmakers.

In the Arizona Senate, dark money groups spent $495,000 to help elect 18 of the body’s 30 members. About 88 percent of that — $436,000 — went to help Republicans.*

Dark money groups are classified in the state’s campaign finance database as “Independent Expenditure (Corp/LLC/Labor),” a subset of “Independent Expenditure” spending. The groups report spending on elections, but not who has given them money.

Senate Bill 1516 passed 18-10 along party lines in the Arizona Senate, with only Republican support. It is expected to receive a full vote in the House of Representatives today.

The provision of the bill pertaining to dark money regulation would get rid of the current requirement for the groups to spend more than half of their money for “social welfare,” meaning non-election spending. Instead, as long as the Internal Revenue Service holds the group in good standing, they could spend all of their money on elections.

If the bill passes in the House, it will go to Gov. Doug Ducey who will either sign or veto it. Ducey benefitted from $3.5 million in dark money spending in 2014.

Dark money spending that is attributed to a lawmaker combines the money spent by dark money groups advocating for their election, or advocating for the defeat of their opponents.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story erroneously reported overall spending figures. Some expenditures were not included in seven individual lawmakers’ totals. Three lawmakers’ totals included expenditures that should have been excluded.

Representative OfficeName  “Dark Money” Advocating Election  “Dark Money” Advocating Defeat of Opponent  Total “Dark Money” Help
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R – Phoenix State Representative – District 28 $1,250.00 $44,733.22 $45,983.22
Rep. Jill Norgaard, R – Phoenix State Representative – District 18 $37,336.22  $- $37,336.22
Rep. Jay Lawrence, R – Scottsdale State Representative – District 23 $25,754.75 $5,822.85 $31,577.60
Rep. Doug Coleman, R – Apache Junction State Representative – District 16 $29,169.60  $- $29,169.60
Rep. Darin Mitchell, R – Litchfield Park State Representative – District 13 $13,966.40 $12,565.22 $26,531.62
Rep. Vince Leach, R – Tucson State Representative – District 11 $24,745.50 $1,159.99 $25,905.49
Rep. Steve Montenegro,  R – Litchfield Park State Representative – District 13 $10,976.39 $12,565.22 $23,541.61
Rep. Bob Robson, R – Chandler State Representative – District 18 $22,928.23  $- $22,928.23
Rep. Justin Olson, R – Mesa State Representative – District 25 $20,629.53  $- $20,629.53
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R – Scottsdale State Representative – District 23 $13,572.77 $5,822.85 $19,395.62
Rep. Paul Boyer, R – Phoenix State Representative – District 20 $10,108.69 $8,985.35 $19,094.04
Rep. Tony Rivero, R – Peoria State Representative – District 21 $9,224.00 $5,800.00 $15,024.00
Rep. Anthony Kern, R- Glendale State Representative – District 20 $5,654.98 $8,985.35 $14,640.33
Rep. Heather Carter, R – Cave Creek State Representative – District 15 $13,205.49  $- $13,205.49
Rep. Mark Finchem, R – Oro Valley State Representative – District 11 $10,298.44 $1,159.99 $11,458.43
Rep. Frank Pratt, R – Casa Grande State Representative – District 8 $8,255.77  $- $8,255.77
Rep. Brenda Barton, R – Payson State Representative – District 6 $8,219.71  $- $8,219.71
Rep. Bob Thorpe, R – Flagstaff State Representative – District 6 $8,219.70  $- $8,219.70
Rep. “T.J.” Shope, R – Coolidge State Representative – District 8 $8,132.67  $- $8,132.67
Rep. Rebecca Rios, D – Phoenix State Representative – District 27 $7,726.00  $- $7,726.00
Rep. Rick Gray, R – Sun City State Representative – District 21 $500.00 $5,800.00 $6,300.00
Rep. Reginald Bolding, D – Laveen State Representative – District 27 $3,000.00  $- $3,000.00
Rep. Lisa Otondo, D – Yuma State Representative – District 4 $3,000.00  $- $3,000.00
Rep. “Rusty” Bowers, R – Mesa State Representative – District 25 $2,861.66  $- $2,861.66
Rep. David Gowan, R – Sierra Vista State Representative – District 14 $1,008.57  $- $1,008.57
Rep. David Stevens, R – Sierra Vista State Representative – District 14 $1,008.57  $- $1,008.57
Rep. Lela Alston, D – Phoenix State Representative – District 24 $989.00  $- $989.00
Rep. Karen Fann, R – Prescott State Representative – District 1 $875.00  $- $875.00
Rep. Mark Cardenas, D – Phoenix State Representative – District 19 $622.25  $- $622.25
Rep. Jose Espinoza, D – Tolleson State Representative – District 19 $622.25  $- $622.25
Total “Dark Money” Spent to help Current Representatives $303,862.14 $113,400.01 $417,262.15

 

Representative OfficeName  “Dark Money” Advocating Election  “Dark Money” Advocating Defeat of Opponent  Total “Dark Money” Help
Sen. Bob Worsley, R – Mesa State Senator – District No. 25 $87,891.79 $32,216.72 $120,108.51
Sen. Catherine Miranda, D – Phoenix State Senator – District No. 27 $88,612.40  $- $88,612.40
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R – Snowflake State Senator – District No. 6 $20,026.32 $56,883.63 $76,909.95
Sen. Jeff Dial, R – Chandler State Senator – District No. 18 $55,393.57 $1,052.16 $56,445.73
Sen. Carlyle Begay, R* – Window Rock State Senator – District No. 7 $43,999.82  $- $43,999.82
Sen. Steve Smith, R – Maricopa State Senator – District No. 11 $22,888.99 $15,934.02 $38,823.01
Sen. John Kavanagh, R – Fountain Hills State Senator – District No. 23 $33,603.79 $2,532.10 $36,135.89
Sen. Don Shooter, R – Yuma State Senator – District No. 13 $6,603.37  $- $6,603.37
Sen. David Farnsworth, R – Mesa State Senator – District No. 16 $6,000.00  $- $6,000.00
Sen. Barbara McGuire, D – Kearny State Senator – District No. 8 $5,500.00  $- $5,500.00
Sen. Martin Quezada, D – Phoenix State Senator – District No. 29 $4,676.17  $- $4,676.17
Sen. Lynne Pancrazi, D – Yuma State Senator – District No. 4 $3,000.00   $- $3,000.00
Sen. Kimberly Yee, R – Phoenix State Senator – District No. 20 $1,891.56  $- $1,891.56
Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R – Chandler State Senator – District No. 17 $1,799.95  $- $1,799.95
Sen. Adam Driggs, R – Phoenix State Senator – District No. 28 $1,250.00  $- $1,250.00
Sen. Steve Pierce, R – Prescott State Senator – District No. 1 $875.00  $- $875.00
Sen. Gail Griffin, R – Hereford State Senator – District No. 14 $836.66  $- $836.66
Sen. Lupe Contreras, D – Avondale State Senator – District No. 19 $622.25  $- $622.25
Sen. Debbie Lesko, R – Peoria State Senator – District No. 21 $500.00  $- $500.00
Total “Dark Money” Spent to help Current Senators $385,971.64 $108,618.63 $494,590.27

 

2 comments

  1. We note that the most egregiously discrimination centric Lawmakers, e.g. Allen, Kavanaugh, Farnsworth ad nauseam, were the recipients of the most money. This, of course, to ‘push’ Legislation denying Women’s Rights, equality for the LGBT Communities, and others matters that keep Arizona at the bottom of every
    list.

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