Arizona voters approve measure to crack down on ‘dark money’

Arizona voters have overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to crack down on “dark money” groups that influence elections without revealing their donors.

The Associated Press called the result with just 66 percent of the vote reported, as the measure had the support of nearly 73 percent of Arizona voters.

Proposition 211, dubbed the Voters’ Right to Know Act by supporters, requires any group spending at least $50,000 to influence a statewide race to disclose donors giving $5,000 or more. The reporting threshold drops to $25,000 for local races, which typically draw far less funding.

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) and former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington (R) backed the measure, marking a significant win for supporters of stricter campaign finance laws and increased transparency.

“By requiring big election spenders to disclose the original sources of their funds, this outstanding victory safeguards the First Amendment right of Arizona voters to fully participate in the political process by ensuring they know who is truly funding the political ads trying to sway their vote,” said Patrick Llewellyn, director for state campaign finance at the Campaign Legal Center.

Voters backed the ballot measure despite opposition from the Arizona GOP and allied conservative groups that argued it would chill the free speech rights of conservative political donors who could face harassment if their donations were made public.

Secret spending exploded after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority struck down limits on outside spending in its 2010 Citizens United decision. Dark money groups aligned with congressional leaders in both parties injected $295 million into the 2022 midterms, according to nonpartisan research group OpenSecrets.

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