Court reinstates ‘dark money’ contributions

Donna G./Flickr

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The state Court of Appeals has reinstated a 2017 law that opens the door to “dark money” contributions to political races.

In a unanimous decision Tuesday the judges said the Republican-controlled legislature was within its rights to decide that any group the Internal Revenue Service has classified as non-profit does not have to disclose its donors, even if it uses the money to finance independent expenditures to elect or defeat candidates.

That change overturned the ability of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to determine whether the group was really a charity or only a thinly disguised political action committee. PACs have to disclose donors.

Tuesday’s ruling also allows political parties to spend unlimited dollars on behalf of their candidates without disclosure. And it also means that individuals and special interests can pay the legal fees of candidates without it counting against the legal limit of how much financial help they can provide.

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