Sunday, June 20, 2004

The Big Money Special Interests Amendment

This is almost sure to make you sick to your stomach. This video captures a paid petition circulator bald-facedly lying to a 'voter,' who is wearing a wire, about what the "No Taxpayer Money for Politicians Act" is all about. He represents it as favoring "100% Clean Elections" and simply ensuring that no taxpayer money should be spent on political campaigns, as it would be "better used for education and health care for the elderly". As if.

Contrary to what initiative backers are simplistically claiming, that taxes are being used for campaigns, the Clean Elections law receives no appropriated tax dollars. The initiative was written to include its own funding mechanisms. The primary sources of funds are:

  1. a 10% surcharge on civil and criminal fines and penalties,
  2. a voluntary $5 check off on your income tax return, and
  3. voluntary tax credit contributions, just like many other tax credit contributions such as those to schools.

Additional funds come from the voluntary $5 qualifying contributions given by voters to Clean candidates (reaching a record 90,000 $5 contributions in 2002), and fines levied on candidates for violations of election laws. The combination of all of these sources has actually returned money to taxpayers, as the Clean Elections Commission transferred more than $5.5 million to the state General Fund during 2003. Clean elections is actually profitable.

After you are sufficiently sickened, go to Keep It Clean and do what you must. Keep in mind that the Arizona system is being viewed as a model for state-based reform nation-wide. If you want Clean Elections in your state, it first has to survive and thrive in Arizona.

The initiative doesn't have a public website or easily available contacts. They prefer to remain in the shadows. These developers and lobbyists have chosen to hide their identities and the true impact of their measure because Clean Elections is very popular with Arizona voters. According to a 2001 Behavior Research poll, 84% of Arizona voters believe campaign contributions affect votes on public policy, and 64% of voters say Clean Elections is good for the state. ( Arizona Republic poll, November 2002) The only way to get the ballot measure passed is by a massive misinformation and scare campaign.

From mandatory disclosures we do know who the sponsors and the major backers of the initiative are. Feel free to give this person a piece of your mind:

Lisa A. James, Applicant/Chairman
4715 North 32nd Street, Suite 107
Phoenix, AZ 85018

And don't forget to contact major backers, such as:

Eric Crown, Ross Farnsworth, and Ken Kendrick
Homebuilders Association of Central Arizona
4715 N. 32nd St. STE 107
Phoenix, AZ 85018
office fax 602-955-2385


At 1:37 PM, Blogger djramsey5 said...

Don't forget the latest $15,000 contributor to the Big Money Special Interests Amendment, Conley Wolfswinkel. The money was given through the Vanderbilt Farms subsidiary of Wolfswinkel's family development business, the Wolfswinkel Group. The problem is that Conley is a convicted felon, nailed for bank fraud in a check-kiting scheme back in the 1980's. Wolfswindel (did I mis-type? Sorry!) was also ordered to pay one BILLION dollars in the Lincoln Savings collapse where he was a co-defendant along with his good friend and business partner, Charles Keating Jr. 20,000 mainly elderly bondholders lost $288 million. Keating loaned Wolfswinkel more than $60 million before Lincoln Savings folded. The federal bailout cost $2.6 billion in taxpayer money.
With slimey characters like this behind the Big Money Special Interests Amendment, it kinda gives new meaning to Keep It Clean.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This Clean Elections system actually works. That is why the special interests are putting their money in. It is disgusting.

I do not live in AZ, but I know how important it is to donate to support this effort because it IS a national campaign. I gave money through Public Campaign Action Fund and its Keep Arizona Campaign. Go to and give $5 or more to keep AZ clean.

When you are in a fight with big money bullies, you need to gather your friends.

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Blog, I found it while looking for money


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