More than 200 independent expenditure committees have filed with the Secretary of State’s Office as of the post-primary campaign finance report deadline, but not all spend to the same degree — and not all report their finances. Here are this election’s five biggest spenders.
Save Our AZ Solar
Save Our AZ Solar, the election’s highest-spending IE, is a pro-solar energy committee based in Tempe. It has spent almost $1.2 million so far, and its biggest expenditures have been in support of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns, a Republican who is seeking re-election. The group has spent more than $660,000 to get him elected as of the last campaign finance report. It is funded by Solar City, the solar installation company headed by tech mogul Elon Musk. Save Our AZ Solar is chaired by Kris Mayes, a former corporation commissioner and current law professor at Arizona State University.
Responsible Leadership for AZ
Responsible Leadership for AZ is a conservative-leaning IE that spent heavily in support of various Republican legislative candidates in the election. It spent nearly $250,000 in all – $10,000 went in support of Rep. Noel Campbell, R-Prescott; around $7,000 for Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix; and several thousand more went for candidates like Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City; and Rep. Rusty Bowers, R-Mesa. It was primarily funded by the Realtors of Arizona PAC. Nicole LaSlavic, a lobbyist for the Arizona Association of Realtors, chairs it.
American Federation for Children
The D.C.-based American Federation for Children is a pro-school choice IE that mostly supported Republican candidates in the primary. It spent more than $230,000 in the primary, making it the highest-spending group that didn’t report the source of its funding, a so-called “dark money” group. It spent heavily to support Republican legislators, including almost $10,000 to elect Bowers. It, along with groups like the Arizona Student Achievement Coalition, made up most of the chunk of hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by pro-charter school advocacy groups. Its national chair is Betsy DeVos, a philanthropist, businesswoman and Republican activist.
Stand for Children Arizona IE
Stand for Children, which has spent just under $200,000 so far, comes on the opposite end of the spectrum as a strong public education advocacy group. It endorsed on both sides of the aisle, including candidates like former Rep. Rep. Lydia Hernandez, D-Phoenix, who the IE spent roughly $40,000 supporting; Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley and his opponent in District 28, Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix; Sen. Catherine Miranda, D-Phoenix; and James Lindblom, a Mesa Republican. Most of its funding came from its parent corporation, Stand for Children, Inc., as well as the Maricopa Community Colleges faculty association. It is chaired by Rebecca Gau, former Gov. Jan Brewer’s drector of the Office of Education Innovation.
Revitalize Arizona is a union-supported, left-leaning IE that mostly spent to elect favorable Republicans in this election, including Diane Landis and Rep. Doug Coleman, R-Apache Junction. Its money comes from Residents for Accountability, a parent IE that in turn gets its money from unions and the Tohono O’Odham nation. Revitalize Arizona’s chair is Anna Clark, a senior compliance specialist at the Democratic leaning Torres Consulting and Law Group.
Note: Stand for Children is supporting both Rep. Eric Meyer and Rep. Kate Brophy in District 28. An earlier version of the story listed only Meyer.