This post contains some background, but you can also cut to the chase by skimming the proposed amendments included below and then find links to enable you to EMAIL (NOW) your state representatives.
Wednesday, on BillMoyers.com, Robert Weissman wrote:
The American political system is facing an existential crisis. Do we aim to be a democracy – meaning a system of rule by the people – or do Americans stand down and permit a very narrow elite class to operate a functioning oligarchy?
Our Constitution begins with the powerful words “We the People” and elaborates a political system in which the people are sovereign. Yet in a series of decisions, of which Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is the most notorious, the US Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment of that document so as to erode our democracy. Now it’s time to amend the great document to re-establish democratic principles.And I certainly stand with Weissman, Bill Moyers and what is most likely the vast majority of Americans who are fed up and ready to Move to Amend the US Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United.
But there is action you can take NOW -- THIS minute to stem the tide and influence of DARK MONEY in Arizona.
Right now (when I first publish this post), the Arizona House of Representatives is debating bills in COW (the Committee of the Whole, aka Floor Debate). On today's COW calendar (list of bills) #9, HB2649 is listed. This is a bill the legislature needs to pass this session as a result of a court decision nullifying Arizona law governing political committees.
State Rep. Ken Clark (D-LD24/Central Phoenix), a member of the House Elections committee, in that committee, tried to get two amendments approved for inclusion in the bill. I understand those two amendments are scheduled for the floor debate on HB2649. Floor debate on COW calendar 9 is taking place NOW.
The first amendment simply strikes one word, "primary," from the existing bill, but dramatically changes the meaning.
The statutory definition of "political committee" for reporting and regulatory purposes, in the bill includes this language:
ORGANIZED, CONDUCTED OR COMBINED FOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF INFLUENCING THE RESULT OF ANY ELECTION IN THIS STATE OR IN ANY COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION IN THIS STATE, INCLUDING A JUDICIAL RETENTION ELECTION. (bold added by me)
The word "primary" effectively limits which committees are subject to regulation. For example, Sean Noble's Dark Money organizations are generally organized for the exclusive (practically speaking) purpose of influencing elections. But he gets to avoid regulation by stating that primary purpose is to educate the public on issues. But if this language -- without the word "primary" is enacted into law, that closes a gap and subjects more political committees to disclosure and regulation.
The other amendment has several pages of text spelling out disclosure requirements for CORPORATIONS that make political contributions.
"Sec. 6. Title 16, chapter 6, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 16-914.03, to read:
16-914.03. Reporting contributions made by a corporation; statement; civil penalty; violation; classification; definition
A. Any corporation that makes a contribution in at least the following amounts to a political committee or to another corporation in an attempt to influence the outcome of a candidate election shall register and notify the appropriate filing officer not later than one day after making that contribution, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and other legal holidays...
1. An aggregate of five thousand dollars or more in one or more statewide races.
2. An aggregate of two thousand five hundred dollars or more in one or more legislative races.
3. One thousand dollars or more in one or more county, city, town or other local races if the one thousand dollars is aggregated in races in a single county, city, town or other local jurisdiction.
B. The secretary of state is the filing officer for registrations and notifications for contributions in statewide and legislative elections. City, town or county filing officers are the filing officers for notifications in a city, town, county or other local election as provided in section 16‑916. The corporation also shall notify the filing officer within the same time limit prescribed in subsection A of this section of each additional accumulation of contributions that exceeds the threshold amount prescribed in subsection A of this section but is not required to register again during that election cycle after the initial registration. The secretary of state shall provide for electronic filing for registrations and notifications and shall provide for website access to the information for the public. Filings at the secretary of state's office shall be in the form prescribed by the secretary of state. Other filing officers shall prescribe the format for filing registrations and notifications and shall provide for public access to that information.
C. The registration shall include all of the following:
1. The name and address of the corporation.
2. The name, title, electronic mail address and telephone number of the person authorizing the contribution.
D. Each notification shall include all of the following:
1. The name and address of the corporation making the contribution.
2. The amount of the contribution and the name of the political committee or other corporation receiving the contribution.
3. The name of the candidate and race for which the contribution was made and whether the contribution was in support of or opposition to the candidate.
4. The date of the contribution.
E. The corporation shall file with the secretary of state or other appropriate filing officer within five days after an initial threshold contribution as prescribed in subsection A of this section a notarized sworn statement that the person, agent or officer filing the registration and notice had authority to make that contribution on behalf of the corporation. Until the secretary of state or other filing officer receives the notarized sworn statement, the filing officer shall categorize the notification as unverified. If the secretary of state or other filing officer does not receive the notarized sworn statement within the required five day time frame, the notification shall be categorized as both unverified and delinquent. The filing officer shall make reasonable efforts to contact the entity that made the contribution and remove the notification from public view within a reasonable time if unable to verify that the entity made the contribution and all penalties prescribed in this section apply.
F. Any corporation that fails to register, notify or disclose as required by this section is liable in a civil action pursuant to section 16‑924 brought by the attorney general, county attorney or city or town attorney, as appropriate, for a civil penalty of up to three times the total amount of the contributions.
G. Any person who makes a knowingly false filing relating to a contribution pursuant to this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. A civil or criminal enforcement action may not be filed until after the filing officer issues a reasonable cause determination.
H. For the purposes of this section, "Local election" means an election in a county, city, town, school district or special district."
If you know who your state reps are, go to the House MEMBER page to get their email addresses and IMMEDIATELY send them an assertive, yet polite message indicating you want them to vote in favor of the amendments.
If you do not know who your state reps are, go to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's website to find out.
This virtual UPRISING should get lawmakers attention. Thanks for helping out.
This virtual UPRISING should get lawmakers attention. Thanks for helping out.
Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century