The Arizona Eagletarian will publish arguments for and against ballot measures between now and November 8, 2022. Some of those arguments will be taken directly from the AZ Secretary of State's publicity pamphlet for this election. However, this blog will annotate as necessary to editorially amplify or rebut positions in such arguments, as the publisher (me) deems fit. First off, two arguments FOR Prop 211, the Voters' Right to Know, and one argument against, and then another argument FOR Prop211, which directly rebuts the anti-disclosure argument.
Please share these blog posts far and wide with Arizona voters and beyond, by social media and sending the link by email to your friends, family and neighbors.
I have been active in both partisan and nonpartisan organizations in AZ since I moved here in 1966.
I have volunteered on many campaigns, both on behalf of candidates and initiatives, some of which were successful and others not.
However, I don’t think I’ve volunteered for one campaign where there is as much support – across party lines, age, gender, race, and any other category you can think of -- as for Voters’ Right to Know.
The clarity and simplicity of this Initiative requires almost no ‘persuasion’ on my part when I have knocked on doors & gone to events to collect signatures.
AZ voters I’ve talked to all agree there should be transparency regarding campaign donations regardless of which type of legal entity to which you donate, as long as that entity is actively involved in campaigning for or against a candidate or ballot measure.
Dark money is NOT acceptable to most Republicans, Independents, Democrats, young & first time voters, folks my age (I’m 84), pro lifers and pro choice folks, etc. They have all told me “put your name where your money goes.” Please vote YES on Voters’ Right to Know.
Rivko Knox, Phoenix
Four score and seven years ago our forefathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men (and women) are created equal. – Abraham Lincoln
Now we are engaged in a great... contest over who gets heard and whose interests matter in making and carrying out laws in Arizona.
Will we allow Dark Money special interests to continue to drown out the voice of the PEOPLE?
The world might little note, nor long remember what we each say on our sacred and secret ballots.
But we have a chance to make sure the world can never forget when Arizona voters enact into law the Stop Dark Money aka The People’s Right to Know initiative.
It is for us, the civic minded voters of Arizona, to dedicate ourselves to the proposition that our children and grandchildren will be able to know by experience what Lincoln meant (and I paraphrase) when he closed the Gettysburg address declaring we now emphatically resolve that this nation and state, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Further, as Suffragette Susan B. Anthony, whose passion and perseverance was rewarded finally when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, 20 years after her death, stated – Wherever women gather together failure is impossible.
Let your action in this election be a tribute to both Anthony and Lincoln.
Steve Muratore, publisher,
Arizona Eagletarian blog https://stevemuratore.blogspot.com
Steve Muratore, Publisher, Arizona Eagletarian (blog), Scottsdale
And then there's the weak sauce offered by Cathy Herrod, apparently a-skeered her inordinate influence on public policy and lawmaking in Arizona will be suppressed:
Don’t let the title fool you; this initiative is about bullying some citizens out of campaign involvement. Proponents of the “Voter’s Right to Know Act” would like you to think deep pockets on only one side of an issue or one party are funding campaigns. In truth, folks ["folks," isn't that quaint? Just like when Southerners say "Bless your heart." A folksy effort at dismissiveness toward the real underlying concerns of REAL American citizens] [By the way, I'm pretty sure Ms. Herrod NEVER signed on as a spokesperson for the Voter's Right to Know campaign. So, why does she try to convince you she KNOWS what the dedicated, concerned citizens who have--because of the pandemic--been working on this citizen-initiated legislation for several years now actually intended?] on all sides exercise their free speech rights by contributing to campaigns with which they agree.
The difference is how some want to name the contributors in an effort to force a boycott, bully, and otherwise silence the speech of those with whom they disagree. [How would Herrod have come to that understanding? Could it be because she has engaged in those very tactics for years?]
The desired effect is to scare contributors out of donating to campaigns [but, but, but... IF the Dark Money donors are afraid they might be found out, aren't they already scared?] , while their own donors virtue signal by touting their donations to woke causes [Oh, look, Herrod knows how to blow the dog whistle to reactionary factions and voters].
The hypocritical nature of this initiative is apparent in the fact that it demands disclosure from private groups, but big tech, corporate media, and labor unions are all exempt. Ironic that all those exempted favor one party over the other. [Again, Herrod engages in verbal sleight of hand. IF, Big Tech, Corporate Media or labor unions give to a Dark Money non-profit, to engage in a pernicious shell game to hide the fact that they might be the original donor, that "exemption" goes away, otherwise, ads they place will ALREADY disclose the original donor... DUH!] All citizens should be free to put their money and effort behind campaigns they support without the risk of conspired retaliation by those in opposition. [See Ken Clark's statement, below.] The measure is also likely unconstitutional. [That's nothing but code for a threat that Dark Money groups might challenge it in court.] The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that campaign contributions are free speech. [And the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (notably one of Herrod's heroes) apparently, ironically emphasized when addressing that very point, he was in favor of the disclosure Herrod so emphatically finds anathema.] Please vote NO.
Cathi Herrod, President, Center for Arizona Policy Action, Phoenix
And finally (for this post anyway), former state representative Ken Clark effectively rebuts Herrod:
Please vote YES on the Voters’ Right to Know Act.
You will hear some weak arguments [one of which is included above] from pro-dark money groups about their desire to hide their corrupting campaign spending.
Dark money spending has never been a tradition in America and only those who want to [continue to] rig our political system argue for it today. They, for instance, [may] point to a Supreme Court case called NAACP v Alabama to argue that people should hide their money in political campaigns in order to protect themselves from threats and intimidation.
That is not what that case was about. That case was about keeping membership lists private, not political contributions.
Further, even our conservative Supreme Court has continued to uphold the right of public disclosure in political campaigns.
As the very conservative Justice Scalia said, “There are laws against threats and intimidation; and harsh criticism, short of unlawful action, is a price our people have traditionally been willing to pay for self-governance. Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed.”
He continued, “For my part, I do not look forward to a society which, thanks to the Supreme Court, campaigns anonymously and even exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”
The real intimidation to our democracy is coming from dark money. When I was a lawmaker, fellow legislators told me personally how they had been threatened with dark money if they did not vote a certain way on legislation. [THIS phenomenon itself should be enough to start thinking outside of the proverbial box when it comes to how society develops laws and public policy]
Voting in favor of this Proposition is the first step to begin to repair the wounds inflicted by an acidic political system.
Ken Clark, Former Legislator, Phoenix