Category Archives: Elections

Dark Money

By The Goldwater Institute

The proponents of mandatory reporting of private civic activities have won a major marketing victory by the widespread use of the phrase, “dark money.”  As one commentator put it, “Dark money.  The name itself carries ominous undertones, undertones that critics of this relatively new campaign-finance phenomenon claim reflect a genuine threat to democracy.”[x]  But the term is misleading.  “Dark money” would be more aptly referred to by what those who find free speech objectionable actually support – mandated government disclosure.  The use of such terms is intended to cast suspicion on those who contribute to various civic causes so the debate revolves around ad hominem attacks rather than engaging on the issues.

So, what is “dark money”?  It conjures images of shady political operatives greasing the palms of politicians in dark, smoked-filled rooms.  But does it also apply to traditional political activities, like you and your neighbor contributing your time and money to civic and social activities that you support?  And is it really a threat to democracy, or are those who seek to silence the voice of opposition and limit speech the real threats?

“Dark money” generally refers to funds spent for political activities by businesses, unions, nonprofit organizations, and individuals who are not required by law to disclose the identities of their donors.  Depending on where supporters of government disclosure draw the inherently arbitrary line, dark money could refer to donations made to the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) or to your local church or soup kitchen.

As a general matter, all spending that calls for the election or defeat of a political candidate or constitutes “electioneering communications” involves some level of disclosure to the government.  In fact, there are more disclosure obligations on the books today than at any other time in our nation’s history.[xi]  Nevertheless, some supporters of government disclosure claim that current laws do not go far enough.  They assert that certain charitable and social welfare organizations, including those organized under § 501(c) of the federal tax code, should be forced to disclose the identities of their individual donors when those organizations engage in political activity, even if that is not their primary function.[xii]

Those calling for the elimination of “dark money” are thus attempting to dramatically extend the reach of government-mandated disclosure to a wide variety of organizations, activities, and communications.

Advocates for expanded disclosure call for such dramatic and far-reaching regulations despite the fact that “dark money” is not a pervasive element in American politics. Some government disclosure advocates claim that so-called “dark money” expenditures constitute a significant portion of political spending in the United States.[xiii]  But the characterization is inaccurate.  In the 2014 election cycle, the Federal Elections Commission reported approximately $5.9 billion in total spending on federal elections.[xiv]  Of that $5.9 billion, roughly $173 million came from groups that are not required by law to disclose donors.[xv]  This represents a mere 2.9 percent of all spending on federal elections – hardly a significant portion.  In fact, this figure represents a decline from the 2012 election cycle, where such expenditures amounted to 4.4 percent of spending on federal races.[xvi]  As the Center for Competitive Politics observed from the 2012 election cycle, “Nearly all of the organizations that financed such independent expenditures . . . were well-known entities, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the League of Conservation Voters, the National Rifle Association, Planned Parenthood, the National Association of Realtors, the National Federation of Independent Business, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and the Humane Society.”[xvii]  As a result, there is no secret as to what causes and issues such groups support.

Under existing campaign finance laws, the identities of these groups must be revealed when making direct contributions to candidates or political parties or engaging in other electioneering communications.  Additionally, donor identities must be disclosed when they specifically earmark their donations to nonprofit organizations to be used for electioneering communications.  Those types of donations can hardly be characterized as “dark money” in need of further regulation when under existing disclosure rules, anyone can see that the NRA contributed to Candidate X and Planned Parenthood contributed to Candidate Y.  The positions of those organizations are well known.  Characterizing those expenditures as “dark money” is, therefore, disingenuous.  But forcing further disclosure of donor identities is at best unnecessary, as donors may contribute to organizations to support the overall mission rather than any specific political candidate.  Their donations are intended to support certain issues, not politicians.

Claims that “dark money” is distorting American politics are even more tenuous when leveled at 501(c)(3)s, considering these nonprofit organizations are prohibited from participating in any partisan political activity.

Senator Ted Cruz’s Closing Debate Remarks

Sen. Ward Exposes McCain’s Many Failings

By Michelle Moons, Breitbart

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Arizona — Hundreds of enthusiastic Arizonans packed into a Lake Havasu City banquet room Tuesday evening to watch State Senator Kelli Ward officially announce, “I, Dr. Kelli Ward, A Proud Mom, A Physician, A Military Wife And Yes, I Am Running for the United States Senate.”

The announcement has been much anticipated after earlier this year she launched an exploratory committee to consider a primary challenge against Sen. John McCain, who’s been entrenched in Washington since 1983, in 2016.

“So much of Washington is broken, it is not working and we all know that. It cannot innovate, it can’t get out of it’s own way,” Ward said. “I’m running to change Washington’s way, but we can’t do that without changing the people that we send there.”

She expressed she is “well aware” of the task before her, but that she is ready for the challenge.

“Thirty years in Washington has changed Senator McCain,” Ward said.

Expressing great appreciation for McCain’s military service to the country and for some of his service in the Senate, Ward said, “but, like many career politicians, but, like many career politicians, has dug in, he’s entrenched himself in the beltway.”

She reminded the audience of the time McCain called senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul “wacko birds.”

Ward touched on illegal immigration and the inhibiting forces of federal regulations.

“I believe we have to secure our borders now,” she said.

“Respectfully, it’s time for a change. It’s time to retire McCain,” she added to raucous cheering.

Ward hammered on McCain’s record as well.

“In just the last few years Senator McCain has voted for tax hikes, for bailouts, for amnesty, for massive spending and for liberal judges,” Ward said. “He’s mocked conservatives for trying to stop Obamacare. He’s voted 14 times to raise the debt ceiling. He’s opposed efforts to stop warrantless wiretapping and spying and the list just goes on and on and on.”

“What’s most telling is this, Senator McCain was recently singled out by Hillary Clinton as her favorite Republican,” she continued, before promising: “Send me to the U.S. Senate and Hillary Clinton will never say that of me.”

“I am jumping into this knowing full well that this is a David and Goliath battle, but remember, David won that one,” Ward said.

Ward, who’s a family practice physician, shared some of her experience as a doctor.

“As a physician I’ve seen first hand what Obamacare has done to ravage our healthcare system. Premiums and deductibles are up and the emergency departments where I work are overwhelmed,” Ward said, before shifting to her record in the Arizona State Senate as a conservative.

“As a state Senator, I fought endless spending, I’ve worked to reform welfare and I said no, no to higher taxes and bloated budgets even when it wasn’t popular,” she said.

She also focused on the importance of securing the border, taking care of military veterans and securing liberty and freedom for the children of America.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

43%
Liberty Score
Voting Record
F
43%
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
She took it to him on the difference between words and actions saying: “He always manages to be a part of the problem by keeping business as usual in the beltway. And definitely one thing he does not want to see change, leaving the Senate.”

“We need someone new. We need a strong conservative voice. We need somebody who’s energetic and fully charged and ready to go,” Ward said, adding: “You deserve more than broken promises and Washington speak. Together we can remake Washington into something that’s working for you. Something that stays out of your way. Something that you don’t have to fight against every single day.”

“Changing Washington starts with you. It starts with you. Join me and thousands of your fellow Arizonans to send a fresh new voice to the U.S. Senate. I am Kelli Ward and I am running for the United States Senate. Join me!”

Various attendees of Ward’s announcement event repeatedly said things like they respect what McCain has done for the country, but he’s been in Washington too long and it’s time for him to go. Over and over those who came answered the same when asked. Still some elaborated further.

“You need people in government that are in touch with today’s problems and I just don’t think McCain is in touch with today’s problems,” said local business owner Jerad Pennington, Pennington’s Pub. “Kelli just raised kids, if anyone’s going to understand the needs of kids in school it’s Kelli. My nieces are a product of the public school and the average parent is concerned about the state of the schools, it makes people want to leave Arizona. I choose Kelli.”

Arizona Senator Kelli Ward Running for U.S. Senate

UPDATE: Dr. Kelli Ward is bravely taking on the deeply entrenched Senator McCain in next year’s Republican Primary. Today she announced:

 “I’m running for the U.S. Senate to give you a real choice! Arizonans deserve a Senator who will fight for their values, and not just go along with the Beltway crowd.”

***

Lake Havasu City, AZ – State Senator Kelli Ward will announce her future political plans in her hometown of Lake Havasu City this Tuesday, July 14th, at Shugrue’s Bridgeview Room, 1425 McCulloch Blvd, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403. The event will begin at 5:00 PM AST.

Dr. was first elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2012 and re-elected in 2014. She is standing tall on crucial issues such as border security, economic freedom, Second Amendment rights, and healthcare freedom. She has formed an exploratory committee and is considering a primary challenge to Republican Senator John McCain, who is losing popularity for his further distancing from the GOP’s base. McCain’s supporters are already in full and vicious attack mode against Dr. Ward, indicating his contempt for any would-be challenger.

Next year McCain really needs a voter-induced retirement.

Poll: 2016 U.S. Senate Election in Arizona

McCain Angers ACU with False Claims about Conservatism

By Michelle Moons, Breitbart.com

Senator John McCain (R-AZ)’s campaign team is getting called out by the very organization whose rating it cited on Twitter.  Team McCain advertised his 91 percent rating in 2014 from conservative group ACU as the Washington insider heads into a tough 2016 campaign season.  What it doesn’t mention is his abysmal 2013 rating of 52 percent or his history of higher ratings going into re-election fights.

The American Conservative Union (ACU), host of the hugely popular Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), rates Congressional officeholders year over year.

McCain’s lifetime ACU based on 32 years in office is 82.13 percent.  Looking back over the past decade, the numbers vary widely, and spiked during his 2010 primary challenge.

2006:   65 percent

2007:   80 percent

2008:   63 percent

2009:   96 percent

2010:   100 Percent (as he faced primary challenger J.D. Hayworth)

2011:   80 percent

2012:   92 percent

2013:   52 percent

2014:   91 percent

McCain certainly seems concerned.  He’s taken to Twitter to boost his image:

The ACU replied to McCain’s tweet with the following:

Arizonans have wearied of McCain.  What many Arizonans remember is the promise he made in his infamous “build the danged fence” border security campaign ad.

Republicans in his own state officially censured him in 2014, the year he claims a lofty conservative rating.  Since the censure reports have surfaced that McCain and his allies have launched a political cleansing of their Arizona leadership, ousting one conservative Republican after another.  Politico reported that after the censure, McCain’s team sought to, “unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.”

Just before announcing his re-election effort, worried emails began pouring from the McCain camp.  “I’m going to be the target of a wide array of powerful groups,” he said in a plea for his own re-election.  That letter was quickly followed with a worried message from his wife, emphasizing fear-invoking dangers in the world and a plea to keep her husband in office.

Arizona State Senator Kelli Ward opened an exploratory committee in March that will help her determine whether she has the political and financial path available to challenge McCain in what she has called a battle on the scale of David vs. Goliath.

U.S. Representative Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) has been quiet about whether he intends to challenge McCain, but that remains a possibility.  Salmon told the Hill he has yet to announce whether he’s in or out or will even run for re-election to his seat in the House. GOP party leaders have indicated Salmon could delay his decision until the fall.

Conservative Coalition Eliminates Huckabee, Santorum, Perry, Among Others

Editor’s Note: The following is a satire written for the purpose of providing a concrete strategy for the conservative movement to assure that the Republican Party not only does not field another lackluster, losing candidate in the 2016 presidential election, but instead nominates a highly electable candidate with the right qualifications:

October 1, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Conservative Coalition

Today the Conservative Coalition trimmed a current governor and two former governors, a former senator and a billionaire from the Republican presidential nominee sweepstakes.

Gone from contention for the GOP’s presidential nomination are ex-governors Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New York Cong. Peter King and Donald Trump.

A still badly overcrowded Republican field remains in contention amidst plans to steadily pare it down in the months to come.

Remaining Conservative Coalition candidates are Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Carly Fiorina, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush, current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, and former New York Gov. George Pataki did not meet, nor did they express any interest in, participating in the Conservative Coalition competition.

U.S. Senator Rand Paul chose not to participate in the Conservative Coalition.

Now in its first go-round, the Conservative Coalition is an effort to narrow down the conservative field of candidates in time to ward off growing strength by a candidate who turns off the GOP’s conservative base. This is the plan to prevent another losing candidacy in the mold of weak candidates Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, all of whom failed to ignite the party base in their losing and unimpressive campaigns.

Conservative Coalition participants agreed to the winnowing down process in the interests of allowing a competition within the greater competition to assure the emergence of one strong conservative candidate with the best chance of winning the party nomination and ultimately the presidential election.

The next elimination date is December 1, 2015, when the coalition field will be cut down to four. After that, any candidate generating single digits in a state primary agrees to drop out.

The final decision to narrow down to one conservative candidate will occur March 1, 2016. Criteria will include a weighted combination of reputable national polling results, primary victories, and fundraising.

Some 40 additional GOP candidates, largely unknown, were also eliminated in today’s Conservative Coalition announcement.

The Conservative Coalition will issue the results of the next cut-down on December 1. Please consider supporting the Conservative Coalition and participating in the strategy to select a winning, conservative candidate with the right values and plans for America.

Dr. Ben Carson’s Speech at 2015 CPAC

Updating Election Results 2014

As of Wednesday morning, here’s where things stand in key and closely contested races:

STATEWIDE OFFICES (1,517 of 1,566 precincts reporting in)

Republican Doug Ducey has a lead of 144,000 votes over *CONTROL’s Comrade Fred DuVal. Ducey has nearly 54 percent of the vote, to DuVal’s 41 percent.

In his acceptance speech, Ducey focused on the economy and fiscal issues: “If anyone needs to cut back, it will be government and not the hardworking taxpayers of this state.” He wants to create opportunities for citizens.

Ducey raised $10 million, and DuVal said he raised $4 million.

DuVal said he campaigned on women’s rights. But Planned Parenthood, one of his key supporters, places quotas on clinics to generate revenue off women’s crisis pregnancies, placing profit before women’s well-being. Post-abortive women suffer heightened risks of breast cancer, though Planned Parenthood and other leftists deny this scientific fact.

Attorney General: Republican Mark Brnovich is leading CONTROL’s Felicia Rotellini by 6+ percentage points.

Secretary of State: Michele Reagan, a liberal Republican, leads CONTROL’s Terry Goddard by 4+ percentage points.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Diane Douglas (GOP) increased her lead to 2.3 percentage points over David Garcia (CONTROL). That’s the tightest of the statewide races.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES (With one exception, all precincts have reported in)

In a Southern Arizona district, conservative Martha McSally is 26 votes ahead of incumbent Ron Barber (CONTROL). The same thing happened two years ago, when McSally led on election night, but in the days of vote counting then she eventually lost to Barber.145 of the 194 precincts are in for this District 2 race.

Former legislator Andy Tobin did lose to CONTROL incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick, a notoriously poor lawmaker, 53-46 percent.

STATE LEGISLATURE (89 of 89 precincts in)

Conservative champion Sylvia Allen has forged ahead of Independent Thomas O’Halleran, by more than 1,600 votes. Allen has 51.48 percent of the votes, to her opponent’s 48.32. If her lead holds up, Republicans will have a 17-13 majority in the Arizona State Senate. Republicans will command a 37-23 majority in the state House of Representatives.

JUDGE NORRIS FIRED

We recommended that Superior Court (Maricopa County) Judge Benjamin Norris be defeated by voters. He became the first judge in Arizona to be voted out in 36 years.

PROPOSITIONS (1,517 OF 1,566)

The only prop still to be decided is 122, which has a slim lead of 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent. This is the proposition that will allow Arizona lawmakers to over-ride radical, unconstitutional federal laws. Though these laws are not as likely to succeed with the congressional Democrats’ complete collapse in the mid-term elections.

Prop 487 lost in the City of Phoenix — allowing unfunded pensions and pension spiking to continue unabated. This places Phoenix on the same trajectory as bankrupt cities like Detroit. Socialist control of Phoenix will eventually come home to its natural, failing roost.

NOT SO MYSTERIOUS “DARK MONEY”

Page 1 of the Democrats’ playbook is: accuse your opponents of what you, yourself, are doing. Then: act shocked that this activity is going on!

In election night TV interviews in Phoenxi, Goddard, Rotellini and Congressman-elect Ruben Gallego focused on mysterious “dark money” and complained about negative ads. But the party of CONTROL sets the standard for negative, truth-defying advertising and campaigning, the politics of personal destruction and identity. No one is shocked at CONTROL hypocrisy. The darling of Planned Parenthood, Michele Reagan, agrees with the CONTROL candidates on “dark money.” Goddard accused all the candidates “who are leading” of receiving “dark money.” Yet Barack Obama is the all-time champion of receiving illegal campaign contributions, especially bundled money from illegal international sources and stimulus money for unions funneled back into his and other Democrats’ campaign coffers.  Goddard also called corporate contributions to candidates “unprecedented,” leading to the questions: where has he been? And does he really think he is believable? Gallego complained about the Koch brothers supporting candidates seeking freedom for their constituents. CONTROL candidates have the low moral ground on the issue of campaign contributions; they just aren’t willing to admit it.

And incidentally, MSNBC — television’s home for socialism — reports that Democrats are the champions of dark money. The Washington Post, a leader of the left stream media, reported on Democrats’ love affair with dark money groups like the Democracy Alliance.

*CONTROL is our moniker for socialists and other candidates whose political party seeks ultimate — and unnecessary — control of your life.

Governor-Elect Ducey will have a Republican Legislature to Work with

SPECIAL BULLETIN

Republicans will maintain control of the Arizona Legislature. Republicans are on their way to victory in 16 state Senate races, the party of CONTROL* has won 13 seats. The only issue in doubt is in District 6.

Former lawmakers Sylvia Allen (Republican) and Thomas O’Halleran (Independent) are locked in a very close race. With just over half the precincts reporting, O’Halleran leads by about 600 votes. Allen got into the race very late when the conservative incumbent, Chester Crandall, died in a horseback riding accident near Heber just days before the August primary. The late Crandall won unopposed, but Allen was able to replace him on the GOP ticket.

If Allen wins the seat, the GOP will have a 17-13 Senate majority. If O’Halleran wins the seat, the GOP will hold 16 seats, the party of CONTROL 13 and there would be one Independent seat.

Republicans are claiming 37 Arizona House of Representative seats, CONTROL 23 seats.

So Governor-elect Ducey will have a Republican majority to work with for the first two years of his first term.

STATEWIDE RACES

Doug Ducey appears on his way to becoming Arizona’s next governor. Fellow Republicans are leading Democrats in all of the other statewide office elections with 1,103 of 1,566 precincts reporting in these state office contests.

Ducey, former state treasurer, leads Comrade Fred DuVal of the party of CONTROL 53-41 percent. The good news is that Arizona will avoid the record spending binges and budget deficits that DuVal would have accrued had he been elected. It would have been a repeat of the Napolitano years when the former governor spent money far faster that the state could generate revenues. But under Governor Ducey, fiscal sanity is a certainty.

We also believe — and certainly hope — Ducey’s administration will be friendly to life, liberty and family. He gave every intention to the Center for Arizona Policy that this would be the case, and we urge him to hold true.

In the race for attorney general, GOP Mark Brnovich has a lead of 66,000 votes over CONTROL candidate Felicia Rotellini, 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent.

Secretary of state race is a little closer. Liberal Republican Michele Reagan has 52 percent of the vote, surprising frequent CONTROL candidate and former attorney general, Terry Goddard, 48 percent.

Closer still is the race between Republican Diane Douglas and CONTROL’s David Garcia. Douglas leads by about 1,500 votes, with 50.87 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 49.08. Douglas wants to get rid of the Big Socialism education curriculum, Common Core. Garcia would be a disaster for Arizona’s children.

Jeff DeWit, another Republican, is running unopposed for state treasurer.

The party of CONTROL refused to allow its members to select candidates for governor or attorney general. No one other than Comrade DuVal, who wants to move Arizona forward communist style, or Rottelini, were allowed to compete for those nominations in the August primary election.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

Conservative Congressmen Matt Salmon, Trent Franks, Paul Gosar and David Schweikert are all sailing to victory.

Salmon said: “Tonight’s election results make one thing exceedingly clear: Arizonans want their elected officials to get government out of the way and support policies that will let the private sector thrive and create jobs.”

CONTROL incumbents Kyrsten Sinema, Ron Barber, and Raul Grijalva are all on their way to re-election as well.

Ann Kirkpatrick, another CONTROL incumbent, is pulling away from Andy Tobin in a congressional race, and now leads by 5 percentage points with 177 of 327 precincts in.

Ruben Gallego (CONTROL) has sewn up election in the congressional seat held for many years by the retired Ed Pastor.

The top vote-getters, in order, for Arizona Corporation Commission are Republicans Doug Little and Tom Forese and then CONTROL’s Sandra Kennedy a distant third.

Judges

Among judges up for retention, Scott Bales is winning handily. He was appointed by former Gov. Janet Napolitano (CONTROL).

Props

Prop 122, which will stem out of control federal government interference with Arizona, is barely ahead, by just one percent.

The Right to Try prop, 303, is winning big.

And as it has done numerous times, the attempt to raise state legislator pay (Prop 304) is losing bigtime.

In Phoenix, the unfunded/pension spiking madness is likely to continue. Prop 487 is up 55 to 45 percent.

CONCLUSION

All in all, it’s a good night for America and Arizona (on the 11th anniversary of The Arizona Conservative, No. 1 cultural commentator in the state). Though politics is downstream from culture, tonight’s results are a good sign that people have had enough of Big Government Socialism, the Obama Administration, and the do-nothing U.S. Senate under Harry Reid’s abdication of responsibility and leadership. This is also a great day for the sanctity of life, for families, and especially for free speech and religious liberty.

We remember the wisdom of President Reagan, one of the five truly great presidents in this nation, who said during his first inaugural address:

“We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth. Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed.”

Thank you for coming here to consult our election recommendations and coverage.

May God bless America.

* The reason we refer to Democrats as the party of CONTROL is because their radical philosophy is to try to control every aspect of your lives — to your detriment.