Invest in Arizona wants you to believe that they ran a grassroots campaign. But that notion is absurd. And you don’t need to look very far to find out.
Recently, the political committee filed its campaign finance report. And lo and behold, what does it show? That the National Education Association (NEA) and Stand for Children, two out-of-state special interest groups, purchased the referendum against historic tax cuts that Republicans delivered earlier this year.
Just look at the numbers. In Quarter 3, Invest in Arizona received just over $16,000 from individual donors. Now, compare that to the nearly $2.4 million it received from the NEA and the more than $2.3 million it received in cash, goods, and services from Stand for Children.
That’s more than $4.5 million—basically their entire budget—with the overwhelming majority spent on gathering signatures.
So much for “grassroots,” eh?
Of course, Stand for Children is trying to claim that its money came from its Phoenix office. But these groups can’t be trusted. In 2020, Stand for Children was funding Invest in Ed from its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, which the Club pointed out here and here. But now we’re supposed to believe that its Phoenix office miraculously developed the ability to start writing 7-figure checks to fund Invest in Arizona?
Either the Phoenix chapter became a fundraising behemoth overnight, or more than likely, the Portland headquarters has been laundering their money to a Phoenix address..
But that’s not even the worst part.
In order to buy their way onto the ballot, these out-of-state special interest groups flooded the streets with hundreds of paid circulators to gather signatures. And you probably won’t be surprised to find out that many of them weren’t following the law. Some failed to fully and properly register with the Secretary of State. Some did not correctly disclose their assigned circulator registration numbers. And some were felons.
That’s right. Invest in Arizona used convicted felons whose civil rights had not been fully restored to circulate its ballot measure.
For all these reasons, the signatures they gathered illegally should be void. That’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the validity of over half the signatures Invest in Arizona submitted to the Secretary of State.
It’s clear that these groups are upset that Prop 208 was put on its deathbed by the Arizona Supreme Court back in August. And now, they want to stick it to the people of Arizona by trying to stop them from receiving some much-needed tax relief.
Invest in Arizona is making a farce of the referendum process. It was never intended to be used by Washington, D.C. teachers’ unions that disapprove of the decisions made by Arizona lawmakers. And while the fate of Invest in Arizona’s astroturf referendum is still unclear, the Club will not be deterred from fighting back against out-of-state special interest groups that parachute into our state trying to buy our ballot box.
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