‘Dark money’ is still trying to influence Phoenix elections despite new law. Here’s how

By Jen Fifield | Arizona Republic

Those living in District 7 have a choice in the March 9 election between two candidates: (L-R) Yassamin Ansari and Cinthia Estela.

Southwest Phoenix voters got the first deceitful political mailer from Americans for Progress nearly two weeks ago, and they just keep coming.

The ads, featuring Donald Trump’s talking points, are seemingly attempting to trick voters in the heavily progressive district into thinking that Yassamin Ansari, a Democratic candidate for Phoenix City Council, is a Republican.

The problem is: Voters don’t have a way of knowing who is sending them. Americans for Progress has yet to file a disclosure with the city.

A new city law was intended to stop these type of “dark money” ads from influencing city elections, but the group sending the ads remains shrouded in secrecy, even as voting for Phoenix City Council races is underway.

The Arizona Republic was unable to tell who may be involved. The city hasn’t had any luck, either. 

Turns out, while the new law may help voters eventually learn who is behind these tactics, it may not be in time to matter.

The city mailed ballots for the March 9 election in District 3 and District 7 on Feb. 10. With about three-quarters of the voters in those districts on the early voting list, many already likely voted.


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February 2021