Monday, October 20, 2014

ARIZONA AG RACE: National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

(UPDATE, 10/21 at 2:30pm: DAGA and RAGA have both filed new Arizona spending reports, including another $440K spent by the former.)

In the Arizona Attorney General's race, the national Republican 527 organization is outspending the Democrats' by more than 6:1.  Dark money contributed mightily to that discrepancy, as RAGA raised 4 times as much money as DAGA in the 3rd quarter.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

One month ago, Arizona's Politics reported on the distinctions between the Republican Attorneys General Assoiciation and the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Significantly more unidentifiable dollars flowed into RAGA than DAGA.

That became much more obvious in the July through September period. RAGA collected $4.3M - $3.9M of that from two organizations that do not identify donors.  DAGA raised "only" $887,000 during that period - none of it from obviously dark money sources. (IRS filings are below the jump.)

As of today, RAGA's Arizona IE committee has spent $1,757,961 dollars on TV ads and mailers bashing Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini.  The most recent ad is here.  (Somewhat ironically, that ad even takes a swipe at its Democratic counterpart.)

Significant Arizona contributors to RAGA are Arizona Public Service's parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp - which has given $425,000, and Tucson auto sales titan Jim Click ($25,000).

Meanwhile, DAGA's Arizona IE committee - the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice and Fairness - has spent $287,665 bashing GOP nominee Mark Brnovich for his role as a private prison lobbyist.  The unions that help fund DAGA are also  running a $450,000 ad against Brnovich, through the local group Revitalize Arizona.  (Even with the latter, the outside spending discrepancy is 2.4:1.)


One month ago, the mega-campaigns by RAGA and DAGA prompted the initiation of Arizona's Politics' #50ShadesOfDarkMoney series, analyzing the disclosure of original sources of monies to independent expenditure efforts, and assigning each group a point on the dark money spectrum.  RAGA was assigned a pretty dark shade of grey: 35, with the following analysis:
2) RAGA AZ IE: Registered this month. 1st report will likely just show "RAGA" as contributor. RAGA formed earlier this year, discloses contributors to IRS quarterly. A significant portion - estimated at between 30-35% of RAGA's intake is from very dark money contributors, with some possibly filtered through multiple entities. SHADES OF DARK: 35
If anything, the 3rd quarter IRS filing could move RAGA a few shades darker.  Last month, we noted that RAGA received greater than 30% of its 2014 funds from dark money organizations.  This quarter's report is startling! RAGA took in $4.3M.  Of that, $3.9M - or, 91% - came from two dark money organizations.  The Judicial Crisis Network put in $2.6M and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added $1.3M.

That brings the dark money percentage of RAGA's 2014 monies to greater than 50% (approximately $6.1M of $11.7M).

(Using the current qualifying standard for social welfare groups - that they must spend more than 50% of their funds on so-called non-election-related causes - RAGA has now crossed the 50% threshold for being considered a DARK 527 organization.)

Thus, Arizona's Politics revises its 50 shades assessment of RAGA, and moves it to a 40 on the spectrum.

DAGA remains at SHADES OF DARK: 20.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

3rd quarter IRS filings for RAGA and DAGA are below the jump.  Go ahead, jump... if you dare.

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)

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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