Tuesday, July 8, 2014

UPDATE: Pro-Jones/Anti-Ducey Outside Group Says NOT Funded By Quayles, Forwards Improper Seed Money (In Response To AZ's Politics Report); "Dark Money" Defined

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported on the outside group supporting Christine Jones' run for Governor, and that the seed money for Better Leaders for Arizona came from a Quayle family-led committee from 2012.  In response, BLA has announced that the Friends of the Majority contribution was improper and that it is being returned.

Further, BLA Treasurer and co-founder Virginia Simpson has told Arizona's Politics that the Quayles have not provided any direct funding for BLA and its anti-Ducey attack ad ("Ducey...will fail Arizona, too!")  Simpson assures readers that the $80,000 plus funding the ad - which began airing yesterday - is "all local". (Simpson has a longstanding personal connection with Jones which led her to get involved in the race.)

In response to Arizona's Politics requests for comment, Simpson posted this comment below the article:
"Friends of the Majority was set up to support the election of Federal candidates. The transfer of $9507.89 from Better Leaders for Arizona (BLA) was an error that has been rectified via the transfer of these funds to a Leadership PAC in support of Federal Candidates as intended . BLA regrets and apologizes for the error. This small amount was never utilized for any promotion or media by BLA which undertook no advocacy activity until other funds were contributed for use in the 2014 gubernatorial race."
After another, lengthier conversation, Simpson clarified that the $9,507.89 was transferred TO BLA, and not the other way around.  She also said that BLA is now directing that seed money to the Congressional Leadership  Fund ("CLF"), so that it is back in the federal arena. (IRONY ALERT: CLF retains Ducey-allied DC London (Sean Noble).)

Ms. Simpson declined to identify who has contributed money to BLA, indicating that it would become available in its next report.  (Unfortunately, the next reporting deadline is August 22 - after all early votes have been cast and only four days before the August 26 primary election day.)

And THAT raises the definition of so-called "Dark Money".  While the lines are somewhat blurred (don't worry, I'm NOT going to link to the music video), BLA is not a dark money group simply because it is not telling us the contributors until the state-mandated disclosure deadline.

It is like any other PAC or independent expenditure group UNLESS it hides the names of the individuals or entities that originally contribute to it.  It COULD still do that by, for example, funneling the contributions through an LLC, trade association or some group that does not have to disclose where the funds originated.

Simpson tells Arizona's Politics that she will NOT hide the original sources of BLA's funds.

The BLA ad references Ducey's "dark money cronies" and that "Doug Ducey uses front groups".  As previously documented by Arizona's Politics, Ducey used $925,000 from a group that is classified as "dark money" in 2012; Sean Noble and his "Americans for Responsible Leadership" hid the sources of the money used by Ducey to help defeat Prop. 204 (education sales tax).

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

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