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.
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
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.
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
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 https://servicearizona.com/voterRegistration
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 https://azsos.gov/elections/voting-election
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 ridesharers. Additionally,
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
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
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
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
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.