As a result of the complaints filed on Monday last week (the day before polls opened in local precincts throughout the state), State Elections Director Christina Estes-Werther today sent notice to Miranda, as well as to Mario Diaz' Republican attorney Kory Langhofer and to Ronnie Lopez, a contact for Cactus PAC requesting information and response to the allegations from each.
The complaint was initially filed by Frances Mendoza. When I reviewed the complaint, I noticed a couple of details that needed to be investigated further and filed a supplemental, related complaint.
Ms. Estes-Werther gave each of the individuals a deadline of 5 pm September 9 to respond. We'll look for follow up from the Secretary of State's office after that time.
From Estes-Werther (to Miranda):
Our office has received two complaints alleging that Miranda for Senate 2014 (committee) has failed to comply with Arizona Campaign Finance requirements. The applicable sections over which this office has jurisdiction include Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 16, Chapter 6, Article 1.
On August 25, Frances M. Mendoza filed a complaint alleging that you did not properly report campaign finance expenditures related to yard signs, hand-delivered literature and mailers that indicated they were "paid for by" your Committee. Additionally, the complaint alleges involvement with Friends of Arizona. The same day, we received a supplemental complaint from Steve Muratore alleging that Friends of Arizona is not a qualified non-profit organization and that you reported a contribution from Cactus PAC, which is not registered in Arizona.
In order to properly review the matter, our office requests your response to all the allegations from both complaints. Please respond to me by 5:00 p.m. on September 9, 2014.The letters to the other two parties are substantially similar to this one.
On the issue of campaign spending, the Arizona Capitol Times reported today (behind paywall) on the winners and losers in terms of that campaign spending (including, but not limited to Dark Money indpendent expenditures).
Within the last two months, money moaned, crooned and groaned, making promises, praising candidates or scaring voters senseless about the supposed misdeeds of whoever was on the receiving end of its tart tongue.
It successfully bought some of the Aug. 26 primary elections — but not all of them. [...]
A similar narrative emerged from the legislative primaries, where millions of dollars in outside spending flooded the contested races.
Generally speaking, the bulk of outside spending on legislative races went to pay for positive ads. The results were predictable: The more money spent on a candidate, the bigger his or her chances of winning.
A cursory review of the campaign finance reports shows that the three legislative candidates who spent the most and benefited most from independent spending — Sen. Bob Worsley, Rep. Heather Carter and Rep. Doug Coleman — won their races. So did Reps. Jeff Dial, Bob Robson and T.J. Shope, who also benefited from thousands of dollars in outside sending.
Worsley’s campaign never ceded ground to outside groups, as his team spent $545,000 to defeat Dr. Ralph Heap.
However, that wasn’t the case for Aaron Marquez, who lost to Rep. Catherine Miranda in Legislative District 27, despite outspending her.
On the other hand, the fact that Miranda's owners started way early (in 2013) with positive spin propaganda along with the fact that her husband, former lawmaker Ben Miranda died an untimely death that she played up in her campaign materials proved impossible to overcome this time. There are definitely lessons to be learned from that race.
Overall, it's obvious Big Money has influence but not necessarily control. It's up to campaign teams and activists to understand the big picture and properly strategize considering all relevent factors.
We can and will reclaim our state from the excesses of Republican domination.
Rise UP! Arizona.