We’re Suing to Protect Donor Privacy and Free Speech from the Unconstitutional Prop 211

We’re Suing to Protect Donor Privacy and Free Speech from the Unconstitutional Prop 211

In this past November’s election, Arizona voters were misled into passing Prop 211. Billed as the “Voters’ Right to Know Act” that’s supposed to “Stop Dark Money” in our state, it sounds harmless enough. But that was all a part of the clever messaging from its campaigners—like former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard—to scare the average person into voting “yes.”

Unfortunately, it worked. But Prop 211 is unconstitutional, and that’s why the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, in partnership with the Center for Arizona Policy and the Goldwater Institute, filed a lawsuit to stop the Act from being enforced.

Prop 211 Threatens Donor Privacy

Every American should be free to peacefully support causes they believe in without being harassed or intimidated. But the broadly written Prop 211 puts this in significant jeopardy.

The Act requires groups or entities that spend over $50,000 on “campaign media spending” in a statewide race or $25,000 in any other race to disclose the names, mailing addresses, occupations, and identities of employers of donors who gave more than $5,000 to the organization during that election cycle. And it requires the organization to disclose its top three donors regardless of whether their money was used for “campaign media spending.”

This is just another attempt to target, harass, and dox conservatives who won’t submit to the Left’s agenda. And if you don’t think this happens, think again. Just ask Brendan Eich, who was forced to step down from his position as Mozilla CEO several years ago after it was made public that he donated money to support a California initiative that aimed to define marriage as between one man and one woman. Or you could also talk to our staff here at the Club, who have received numerous phone calls and voicemails threatening violence—including one staff member whose car was vandalized for engaging in public communications on our behalf.

Prop 211 Threatens Free Speech

Both the U.S Constitution and the Arizona Constitution guarantee citizens the right to speak freely, which includes the right to not be forced to speak. Prop 211 not only violates this right for donors by silencing them from supporting causes they believe in, but it impairs the speech of nonprofits like the Club as well.

The Act’s definition of “campaign media spending” includes any public communication that “promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes” a candidate within six months of an election or even “refers” to a candidate ninety days before a primary election. In other words, pointing out a favorable (or unfavorable) vote by an incumbent lawmaker in an article, blog, or social media post by the Club would trigger enforcement and compliance with Prop 211 starting in January of an election year. And if you think that by simply avoiding traditional campaign media spending (sending out a mailer, airing a TV commercial, etc.) will protect you from Prop 211, think again. The measure applies to all “research, design, production…or any other activity conducted in preparation for” a public communication about a candidate. Since writing articles and producing social media posts have a cost, we would have to calculate and regularly track how much staff time and office resources are used to produce these materials.

This level of onerous accounting is almost impossible and would drastically limit the Club’s public communications during legislative sessions and through the campaign season. That is why, as we state in our lawsuit, that Prop 211 will force us to cease many of the activities and publications that are not even campaign related in order to avoid the absurd dragnet and complex regulatory labyrinth established by this Act.

On top of that, this hopelessly vague standard is left to the loose discretion of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission—a group that has often been at odds with our organization in past ballot initiative campaigns and litigation, including a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that significantly reduced the Commission’s power.

Now, it’s in the hands of the Maricopa County Superior Court, who may want to take a look at another recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of Americans for Prosperity v. Bonta. In its decision, the high court struck down a similar law out of California because the First Amendment protects the freedom to support organizations and nonprofits anonymously. That means Prop 211 is unconstitutional, and the Maricopa County Superior Court needs to make that clear.

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The November Election Shows That the GOP Won the Education Debate

The November Election Shows That the GOP Won the Education Debate

The public school system in Arizona is a complete mess. But during the past few years, it really hit a new low.

Attempts to indoctrinate children with Critical Race Theory and radical gender theory have been spreading throughout our public school districts. COVID shutdowns have wreaked havoc on students’ education—especially low-income parents and children. In the meantime, public school spending surged during COVID while teacher pay didn’t keep pace. But that didn’t stop failed teachers’ unions like Red4ED from trying to use the “low teacher pay” narrative in their attempts to push more ridiculous tax increases on taxpayers like you.

Of course, all of this is only more infuriating when you consider that the majority of Arizona students continue to fail the statewide assessment. And ACT scores for Arizona students have fallen below the standards for our state universities. That’s why the Club made it a priority to drain the public school swamp in this past November’s election.  

19 Club-Endorsed Candidates Won School Board Seats

Defeating the Left isn’t just about winning statewide races. If we are ever going to stop the radical woke agenda, local school board races are critical. Altogether, the Club endorsed 28 different candidates for school boards throughout the state, and 19 of them won a seat. When you consider that school boards have been overrun by leftist activists for years, this is a huge victory, especially in a city like Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) has been one of the worst offenders when it comes indoctrinating children with gender identity ideology. SUSD allows and even encourages students to replace their “deadname”—the birth name that individuals reject upon transitioning genders—with their preferred name on their school ID. On top of that, one Scottsdale principal required middle school teachers to attend grooming training without facing any accountability from the school board. Another Scottsdale teacher pushed radical sex theories that were not approved by the district. And the district also went on to promote a “Drag Queen Story Hour.”

But in this past November’s election, Club-endorsed candidates Amy Carney and Carine Werner won the two available seats to serve on the Scottsdale School Board. Both these moms have made it a commitment to root out controversial indoctrination programs and refocus the district on strengthening students in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. And they will serve as a crucial voice for parents throughout the city.

Tom Horne Will Replace Union Darling Kathy Hoffman as Superintendent

Along with the great success in local school board races, Republican Tom Horne triumphed over Kathy Hoffman in the race for Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Tom served in this same position from 2003 to 2011, and now he will make it a priority to stop indoctrination like Critical Race Theory, fight back against cancel culture, and improve student performance.

In addition, Tom has been a strong advocate for school choice and empowering parents—which stands in stark contrast to current Superintendent Kathy Hoffman. Kathy was a vocal opponent of the state’s recent law that expands Empower Scholarship Accounts (ESA) to all K-12 students. And she supported the failed Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) ballot initiative that sought to stop universal school choice. Hoffman was everything the radical left and K-12 spending lobby wanted in a candidate, and she lost.

Tom hasn’t wasted any time getting to work as our top education official. He has already appointed Christine Accurso, who led the Decline to Sign movement to stop SOSAZ’s ballot initiative, to be the Executive Director of the ESA division of the Department of Education. This was a critical hire given the bureaucratic roadblocks erected against the ESA program by the Hoffman regime.

Fixing the management and application process for the ESA program is an important step, but it’s just the beginning. Arizona’s public education system needs a significant overhaul, and the people of Arizona know it. Now, Tom Horne and the newly elected conservative board members need to get to work making that happen. And the GOP needs to build upon the momentum it created in winning the education debate.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

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The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

Not every outcome of November’s frustrating and poorly run election was a disaster. While Maricopa County certainly dropped the ball, and we await the results of any lawsuits and investigations, voters passed some important initiative reforms.

One of those came from Proposition 129, which earned 55 percent of the vote. This measure amends the Arizona Constitution to limit ballot initiatives to a single subject. It also requires the subject to be included in the title of the measure.

The passing of Prop 129 is critical because for years, out-of-state special interest groups have made it a habit to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. That would often lead to confusion for voters who didn’t always understand what exactly they were voting for or against. And it would put voters in the difficult position to vote on the entirety of an initiative even though they may support some parts of it and oppose others. Now, with the single subject rule, ballot initiatives will have the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature. And voters will gain some much-needed clarity when they cast their vote.

But Prop 129 wasn’t the only important initiative reform to pass in this November’s election. In a big win for taxpayers across the state, Arizona voters also passed Prop 132. This measure requires a 60 percent majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks to raise your taxes.

Requiring broader support like this puts a check on out-of-state special interests who want to increase Arizona’s taxes to fund their schemes. After all, just look what they tried to do with Prop 208 back in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation passed with only 51% of the vote and would have made Arizona a high tax state had it not been for litigation challenging the constitutionality of the plan killing it once and for all. Now, any measure aimed to raise your taxes will require a super majority, just like it does at our state legislature. And Arizonans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it won’t be so easy to take more money out of their wallets.

Of course, the big loser in all of this is out-of-state special interests, who spent millions in an effort to defeat Props 129 and 132. In fact, one group that called themselves Will of the People Arizona, was so concerned with stopping these initiatives that it raised and spent around $2 million to defeat Prop 132 alone. Of course, they didn’t bother to tell voters that only $33 from their massive fundraising haul came from people who actually live in Arizona. The overwhelming majority of their cash came from unions and liberal groups residing in California and Washington, D.C.

But this time, the people of Arizona saw through the lies. They passed Props 129 and 132, which should help stop groups in others states from bringing their radical ideas to Arizona’s ballots. And that is a significant step to protect the future of our state.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

Maricopa County dropped the ball. They botched the election, and there is simply no way for politicians to gaslight their way out of it. After years of fearmongering from the media and the left that election integrity measures would suppress and disenfranchise voters, it turns out no one suppresses and disenfranchises voters quite like politicians and bureaucrats in Maricopa County.

Rather than taking accountability for their failures, they have rubbed their incompetence in the faces of frustrated voters, smugly downplaying their failure and patting themselves on the back, asserting that they made a “remarkable effort.”

All eyes were on this election. Everyone knew it would be contentious, that key races would be close, and that record levels of Republican voters would show up to vote in-person on election day. Given this, one would think election officials would go above and beyond to ensure every minute detail was ironed out so that the election process was beyond reproach.

Instead, within minutes of polls opening at 6 am, reports were coming in that tabulators were not accepting ballots. Quickly, the number of impacted voting centers grew to more than 60 out of the 223 that were open. And of the 95 voting centers that were open only on election day, nearly half were impacted.

It took seven hours for the County to figure out what was going on – that the printers weren’t printing correctly. Then it took another five and a half hours (just 30 minutes before the polls closed) to get every location back up and running. Oh yes, that’s remarkable – remarkably bad.

It wasn’t just long lines—though undoubtedly some voters just gave up and went home instead of dealing with the mess Maricopa County created. The biggest injustice was the actual disenfranchisement of voters.

Here’s how that happened. A voter signed into a voting center and filled out their ballot, but the tabulator couldn’t read it. They were told by official poll workers that they can either place it in “Door 3” and trust that the County will securely deliver it downtown later that night and accurately tabulate it, or they can spoil their ballot and go to another voting center with tabulators that actually work.

If they went with the latter option, as some did, they spoiled their ballot and walked out of the voting center. But when they arrived at the next one, they were told they had already voted, because they were never signed out of the first location. So, they were then told to cast a provisional ballot.

However, that ballot can’t be counted, and it wasn’t counted, because a provisional ballot is only counted if the person hasn’t already voted. Because of this, as soon as they left the first location, they were doomed, and they were disenfranchised.

We don’t yet know how many voters were stripped of their vote in this way. It could be hundreds, or it could be thousands. What we do know is that it’s impossible for the numbers to reconcile now.

Maricopa County has attempted to redirect blame by saying they provided a “Door 3” option, but they botched that as well. In at least two voting centers, they mixed the “Door 3” ballots that had not been tabulated with the ballots that had been tabulated. That meant retabulating all of the ballots from those locations, and then backing out the numbers from the original tally.

And as for those voters that were assured their “Door 3” ballots would be the first to be counted? Well, it wasn’t until Monday the 21st of November, 13 days after the election, that all election day ballots were finally counted.

Maricopa County’s catastrophic failure has only solidified the lack of trust in our election system. And all of this in the backdrop of a Recorder who just last year started his own PAC to campaign against candidates running in elections he oversees (a clear conflict of interest). A Recorder who donated to far-left political causes. And a Recorder who, just when early ballots were being mailed out by his office, illegally placed the thumb of government on the scale to campaign against commonsense voter ID requirements with taxpayer resources.

All of this could have been avoided if Maricopa County was serious about running a smooth election. The County could have implemented on-site tabulation for early ballots to help get results on election night. They could have tested the tabulators. They could have tested the printers. And they could have spent a little less time speaking from their Misinformation Board, hosting press conferences, and trolling people on Twitter and a little more time preparing for the election. Instead, voters were disenfranchised, and once again, Maricopa County became the laughingstock of the country.

Assuming this was gross negligence on the part of Maricopa County (and not intentional sabotage), the voters are entitled to a full investigation and a contest of the election. The Attorney General appears to have initiated an investigation, and we do anticipate litigation by some of the candidates that will force the County into court in the next couple of weeks. Make no mistake, the actions being taken by the AG and pending litigation would not be possible without the thousands of Arizona voters who reached out to the campaigns and law enforcement about their eyewitness accounts and experiences on election day. To those that stepped up to tell their stories, we thank you.

Also, there are efforts to protest the election results or to call for a “redo” of the election through some form of legislative action or by preventing certification, but the reality is that the only place that redress can be achieved is through the courts. We understand that awaiting legal remedies is frustrating, but that is the only mechanism in place under state law and the constitution for contesting election results or to challenge the illegal activities that occurred on election day.

Coinciding with litigation and a potential AG investigation, a statewide recount is set to begin in at least two races, one of which—the Attorney General race—includes candidates who are separated by 500 votes. The outcome in these close races will likely hinge on what is uncovered and discovered through litigation. And with it, hopefully some remedy will be provided for the disenfranchised voters on election day.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsed Candidates and Positions on Eight Ballot Measures

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsed Candidates and Positions on Eight Ballot Measures

Election Day is just a few days away. As you prepare, below is a full list of Free Enterprise Club endorsed candidates and our positions on eight of the ballot measures.

Statewide

GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurer
Kari LakeMark FinchemAbe HamadehKimberly Yee
    
Superintendent of Public InstructionCorporation Commission (vote for 2)
Tom HorneNick Myers
Kevin Thompson

Federal

US SenateCD1CD2CD3CD4
Blake MastersDavid SchweikertEli CraneJeff ZinkKelly Cooper
     
CD5CD6CD7CD8CD9
Andy BiggsJuan CiscomaniLuis PozzoloDebbie LeskoPaul Gosar

Arizona State House

LD1LD2LD3LD4LD5
Selina BlissChristian LamarAlex KolodinMatt GressJennifer Treadwell
Quang NguyenJoseph ChaplikMaria Syms
LD7LD8LD9LD10LD11
David MarshallCaden DarrowKathy PearceBarbara ParkerTatiana Peña
Mary Ann MendozaJustin Heap
LD12LD13LD14LD15LD16
Terry RoeLiz HarrisTravis GranthamJacqueline ParkerRob Hudelson
Jim ChastonJulie WilloughbyLaurin HendrixNeal Carter
LD17LD19LD21LD23LD25
Cory McGarrGail GriffinDeborah McEwenMichele PeñaMichael Carbone
Rachel JonesLupe DiazTim Dunn
LD27LD28LD29LD30
Kevin PayneBeverly PingerelliSteve MontenegroJohn Gillette
Ben TomaAustin SmithLeo Biasiucci

Arizona State Senate

LD1LD2LD3LD4LD7
Ken BennettSteve KaiserJohn KavanaghNancy BartoWendy Rogers
     
LD8LD9LD10LD13LD14
Roxana HolzapfelRobert ScantleburyDavid FarnsworthJD MesnardWarren Petersen
     
LD15LD17LD22 (Write-In)LD23LD27
Jake HoffmanJustine WadsackSteve RobinsonGary SnyderAnthony Kern
LD29   
Janae Shamp

County

Maricopa County Attorney
Rachel Mitchell

Local City and Town Council

Gilbert Town CouncilPhoenix City Council District 6
Bobbi BuchliSam Stone

School Board

Cave CreekChandlerDeer ValleyFountain HillsGilbert
Jackie UlmerKurt RohrsPaul CarverLibby SettleChad Thompson
 Charlotte GollaTony BouieMadicyn Reid 
     
HigleyKyreneMesaParadise ValleyRoosevelt
Anna Van HoekKristi OhmanRachel WaldenSandra ChristensenJoseph Dailey
Roy Morales Ed SteeleLisa Farr 
   Eddy Jackson 
    
ScottsdaleVailEVIT – District 5DysartPeoria
Amy CarneyAnastasia TsatsakisCien Hyatt LukeJennifer DrakeHeather Rooks
Carine WernerLeroy Smith Dawn DensmoreDevon Updegraff-Day
Prescott
Linda Conn (2-year term)
Michele Hamer (4-year term)

Judicial Retention

Arizona Supreme CourtMaricopa County Superior CourtCourt of Appeals Division I
Hon. James P. BeeneHon. Bradley AstrowskyHon. Cynthia J. Bailey
Hon. William G. MontgomeryHon. Alison S. Bachus 
 Hon. Robert I. Brooks 
 Hon. Rusty D. Crandell 
 Hon. Jennifer Green 
 Hon. Michael J. Herrod 
 Hon. Joseph S. Kiefer 
 Hon. Susanna C. Pineda 
 Hon. Michael Z. Rassas 
 Hon. Tracey Westerhausen 
 Hon. Cassie Woo 

Ballot Measures

Vote YESProposition 128Proposition 129Proposition 132Proposition 309
Vote NOProposition 209Proposition 211Proposition 308Proposition 310

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.