Donor Harassment Initiative Looking to Qualify for 2020 Ballot

After failing last year to qualify a measure forcing disclosure of contributions to non-profit organizations and eliminating donor privacy, Terry Goddard is back peddling a revised iteration of “Outlaw Dirty Money.”  This time dubbed “The Voters Right to Know Amendment,” the proposal would change the Arizona Constitution to require the disclosure of the “original source” of all major contributions used to “influence Arizona elections.”

Major contributions are defined as $5,000 or more in a single campaign, $20,000 for statewide campaigns or $10,000 for all other campaigns in an election cycle.

The issue is easy to speak to on a superficial level – convincing voters they have “a right” to know who is spending in elections sounds appealing to people on the left and the right of the political spectrum.  However, lying just below the surface are insidious motivations and consequences.

Coerced disclosure Encourages Government Corruption

Predating the drumbeat for private non-profits to publicly out the individuals who support them, there has existed extensive campaign finance laws aimed to disclose the financial support candidates receive who are running for public office.  Money candidates directly receive is treated differently than organizations because elected officials who are a part of the government have a duty to reveal potential financial conflicts of interest.  More importantly, laws already exist against corruption such as quid pro quos, bribes, and financial fraud.  These are the appropriate laws that keep politicians honest.  These are the laws that effectively weeded out 7 Arizona lawmakers in the infamous 1991 AZSCAM scandal.

In contrast, individuals freely and privately associating with organizations that share their common beliefs and want to share their views with voters is not corruption. It is free speech.

And protecting this right is important given the track record of harassment and intimidation directed toward individuals attempting to exercise their 1st amendment rights.  This isn’t a theoretical argument; there are several documented cases of private citizens being targeted for supporting a cause or organization.  One such example occurred 61 years ago under National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) vs the State of Alabama.  In this case the state was arguing they had “a right” to the membership list of the NAACP to determine if the organization was doing business in the state.  In the tumultuous throws of segregation, the true purpose was for the government to create an “enemies list” of financial contributors by which they could exert their coercive power and intimidate members into abandoning the cause.

More recently, in 2015 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting every citizens’ First Amendment right by determining a three year investigation by the state into conservative groups was illegal.  In the commonly dubbed “John Doe” investigation, government regulators gnashing for names of their political enemies actually ambushed non-profit leaders in the early dawn hours at their homes, crashing into rooms where children slept in an effort to find donor lists.

This is why transparency is only a virtue when applied to government and privacy is a virtue when applied to citizens.  That’s why public record laws only apply to government and not private citizens.  Though the proponents of Goddard’s proposal strive to confuse voters with seedy sounding language like “dark money,” they cannot point to a single instance where knowing which individuals support what political speech led to the uncovering of a violation of law or “corruption”. HOWEVER, there are masses of real-life examples of similar disclosure laws being used to attack, intimidate, and compel private citizens. 

Goddard’s Initiative Doesn’t Know What Laundering Means

Lastly, the “Voters Right to Know Amendment” falsely equivocates laundering with the innocent and lawful act of individuals giving money to non-profits and organizations with which they align.  As an attorney, Goddard should know money laundering (which rightfully so is already a crime), involves concealing money obtained illegally by transferring it through legitimate businesses. This is an attempt by Goddard to implicate honest individuals with a constitutional right to spend their money however they like without the scrutiny of government.  Imagining every private citizen donor as a potential criminal with nefarious intentions is just wrong.  Not to mention criminalizing anonymous speech is a perversion of justice – there are no victims in non-disclosure– only victims when the right to privacy is violated.

At the end of the day, initiative’s like Goddard’s are a dangerous threat to every citizen’s right to privacy, free speech and association.  It concentrates more power into the hands of the government and erodes some of our most basic democratic principles.  Proponents have flimsy intellectual arguments and catchy rhetoric – but behind them is government target list and a loaded gun.  Hopefully, their third attempt to fool voters is equally unsuccessful. 

Don’t Forget to Register to Vote!

Participating in our electoral process is one of our most precious rights, which is why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is asking Arizona residents to get involved and register to vote!

Registering to vote in Arizona is easy and can be done online and in just a few minutes. Visit and fill out the form and your registration will be processed electronically.

As a reminder, anyone that has moved must update their information in order to be properly registered and eligible to vote. This can be done online as well.

Thank you for doing your part and serving your country!

For more information visit

Phoenix City Council Considers Forcing Ridesharers to Subsidize Sky Harbor Train

The City of Phoenix is addicted to wasting millions of dollars on antiquated train systems.  So much so that they are constantly looking for more people to subsidize the ever-growing and inevitable rising costs.

Their new target?  Phoenix Sky Harbor patrons who Uber or Lyft to the airport.

Even though ridesharers have absolutely no need to take the Sky Train at Sky Harbor, that hasn’t stopped city officials from implementing a 200 percent increase on the current $2.66 fee for them to pick up and drop off passengers.

Under the current proposal the Phoenix Council voted on October 16th, passengers would see a $10 round trip cost increase by 2024, making Phoenix one of the costliest airports in the country for residents to rideshare.

A fee to cover the rideshare companies’ impact on roads and curbs is understandable.  However, forcing their customers to subsidize a train they don’t use is little more than social engineering.  Currently, many people find it more affordable to uber to the airport than to park their car.  The real goal of this policy: force people to use the train by making the alternative less economically desirable.  Afterall, if the issue was equity as argued by proponents, elected leaders would require a fee on users of the Sky Train not the ridesharersAdditionally, rideshare patrons will get a discount off their fee if they use the Sky Train to the 44th St Station.

Just like downtown Phoenix light rail, city officials are constantly looking for creative ways to force people onto their trains to make the millions they waste on a system people barely use look less like a boondoggle.

California Labor Groups File AZ Ballot Initiative to Unionize Hospital Workers

After the Arizona Free Enterprise Club successfully advocated for initiative reform to crack down on circulator fraud and abuse, groups have been manically organizing to file their ballot initiatives before the new law took effect August 27th 2019.

Just eking in on August 26th was an initiative funded by California big-union Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW).   SEIU is best known in Arizona for picketing at hospitals as well as their failed attempt to qualify a ballot initiative in 2016 to cap hospital executives’ pay.  The political group formed to push the effort is “Healthcare Rising Arizona” which is perhaps fitting considering the inevitable rising costs the passage of this initiative would cause.

The unions plan to sell the measure to voters by codifying in Arizona statute provisions of Obamacare that prohibit discrimination based upon pre-existing conditions.  Additionally, it would address ‘surprise billing’ by prohibiting hospitals and ambulance services from charging an out-of-network patient above what their in-network cost sharing is, and mandates specified reimbursement rates for insurers to pay facilities, ambulances and providers.

The reality is that protections for pre-existing conditions and ‘surprise billing’ already exist in Arizona.  In fact, two years ago Arizona lawmakers passed legislation to create a dispute process for consumers who receive a surprise bill. 

So why would a California labor union spend millions to run a campaign in Arizona to pass laws that already exist?

The answer is the immediate 5 percent pay raise for all direct care hospital workers (including nurses, janitorial staff and food prep staff) that would go into effect upon passage.  Although the proponents admit these would be substantial costs that would likely be passed onto patients, it is a convenient way to set the stage to put Big Union bosses in charge of wages and benefits negotiations.  Furthermore, no data suggests that hospital workers are under paid; especially in Arizona where cost of living is affordable.

Finally, the initiative would increase regulatory burdens on private hospitals and require the Arizona Department of Health Services to levy major fines for falling short.  Increased red tape means higher administrative costs getting passed on to the consumer.

If Americans and especially Arizonans have learned anything from Obamacare it is that government intrusion into healthcare complicates the system, increases costs, and decreases choice. 

Although there is still plenty of time for proponents to collect signatures for the 2020 ballot, they won’t have to comply with new commonsense requirements to qualify circulators and ensure they’re not felons.  It is likely therefore that bad actors and paid union members will flood the streets for the 237,000 required signatures.  Hopefully voters will have a healthy sense of skepticism when approached with another big-government solution to their healthcare.