Earlier this Summer campaign finance reports revealed that Proposition 208, the Largest Tax Increase in Arizona History, was being bankrolled by the liberal Oregon-based Stand for Children. This out of state special interest group pumped more than $4 Million into the effort, accounting for 90 percent of the funding for the ‘Yes’ campaign.
It was a staggering financial sum, and it turns out that they leveraged money from U.S. taxpayers to make it happen. News broke that the Stand for Children Network was a major beneficiary of the PPP program, raking in millions under the guise as a “distressed” small business.
Stand for Children has tried to deny these claims, claiming that the Stand for Children Leadership Center that received these funds is a separate entity from Stand for Children Inc. that provided the funding to the ballot measure. This defense is dubious, however, given the extensive commingling of resources between Stand for Children Inc. and Stand for Children Leadership Center:
- These entities share the same address—2121 SW Broadway, in liberal Portland, Oregon.
- The staff members for both entities are identical. In fact, clicking on the webpage of the staff of the allegedly distinct Stand for Children Leadership Center takes you to the staff webpage of Stand for Children.
- Stand for Children Leadership Center has directly provided funding to Stand for Children Inc. in the past, giving $830,000 to their C4 affiliate in August, 2019.
In addition, the PPP loan was approved on April 28, 2020. One week later, Stand for Children made a $300,000 contribution to the tax hike campaign. Later that month, another $600,000 was given, and then another $350,000 on June 12.
The cozy relationship between the (c)(3) receiving PPP funds from taxpayers and their affiliated, pro tax hike group is troubling enough. Yet even if they are separate entities, it just means that Stand for Children Inc was sitting on millions in cash, and instead of using that money to pay for the same staff they share with their affiliated (c)(3), they instead decided have their C3 partner acquire PPP loans so that they could fund a tax hike initiative in Arizona.
The CARES Act PPP program was created by Congress at the beginning of the pandemic to assist struggling business owners maintain their payroll, avoid layoffs, and hire back employees. It was never intended to be used to underwrite political operations.
There have been several reports about companies abusing the PPP program, but this outrageous behavior has to be near the top. Even more jarring is that the same program that was set up ostensibly to help Arizona small businesses ended up being used to hammer them with a 78% tax increase.
We call upon our congressional delegation to act against this abuse and investigate their PPP application. If the PPP money has gone to fund Prop 208 they should be required to pay back EVERY DIME they received, plus interest and penalties.
And if there was any justice, Stand for Children should be forced to apologize to Arizona voters, taxpayers, and small business owners for using their tax dollars to put this radical measure on the ballot.