Fight the Power

Posted: January 19, 2012 in Arizona Politics, AZ Sen. Russell Pearce, Elections, Judiciary
Tags: , ,

Ever since the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people and they can donate as much money as they want to a political campaign AND that they didn’t have to disclose that donation publicly, many on the right and the left have been worried, if not downright incensed.  I have been both.

Well it turns out that all hope is not lost.  There is a new  bill being proposed in the Arizona legislature that would close disclosure loopholes in existing campaign finance law. This proposal was introduced by House Judiciary Chairman Eddie Farnsworth because there were a lot of (supposedly, I haven’t seen any exact figures on this) out-of-state donations made to recall election campaigns in 2011 that were not fully disclosed to the satisfaction of lawmakers and citizens.  One particular recall election that I took a great interest in was the Russell Pearce campaign that eventually did succeed in removing him from the State Senate.

It isn’t clear to me which side of the Pearce recall election actually received these large, anonymous, out-of-state donations (right now, conspiracy theorists out there are thinking those that initiated the recall probably got their money from the usual suspects–“It’s Soros, I just know it!”….this kind of thinking is ridiculous).  Actual campaign finance reports show that those supporting the recall received support from leaders within Pearce’s own district in Mesa.  Whereas Pearce’s campaign to stay in office received MOST of its money from outside of Mesa, and from some big name politicians, D.C. based lobbying groups and powerful state corporations.  Take a look at the list published on AZCentral.com–it’s an interesting read.  Apparently some groups were formed locally but may have received donations from national sources and that is what the new bill hopes to bring out into the light in future.

I am thrilled that local interests were able to triumph over non-local interests in the Pearce recall and I hope things continue in that vein–regardless of which party wins out on an issue.  Ultimately, I don’t think it matters on which side of an  issue you are.  If you are truly in favor of democracy and do not want this country to turn into an oligarchy, then forcing donations to be fully disclosed is the right thing to do.

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._Federal_Election_Commission

http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2012/01/18/bill-seeks-disclosures-of-campaign-spending/

http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/2011/10/28/20111028mesa-pearce-recall-election-finance-report-details.html

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2011/10/28/20111028pearce-recall-campaign-money-reports-brk28-ON.html

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