Arizona ballot measures on political spending, voting and debt hang in balance at state Supreme Court

By Gregory Svirnovskiy and Mary Jo Pitzl || The Arizona Republic

The Arizona Supreme Court will soon decide whether to throw out a ballot measure that would require public disclosure of those who donate anonymously to political causes through nonprofit “dark money” groups.

But the justices won’t weigh the legitimacy of the ballot measure, dubbed the “Right to Know Act,” itself, nor the validity of the 355,000 signatures compiled by paid signature gatherers and volunteers and validated by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office.

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Instead, opponents of the measure — notable groups that don’t disclose their donors such as Americans for Prosperity, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, the Center for Arizona Policy and the Goldwater Institute — are trying to get it tossed on a technical issue Joining them via amicus brief are Gov. Doug Ducey, state Senate President Karen Fann and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, all Republicans.

On Tuesday, backers of the measure, including former Phoenix Mayors Terry Goddard, a Democrat, and Paul Johnson, an independent, said Ducey and the GOP leaders are cynically ignoring a process that they themselves required just three years ago.

“We just think that is wrong,” Goddard said at a news conference to highlight the latest front in the battle over whether the initiative will qualify for the Nov. 8 ballot. “Especially, when we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters’ constitutional rights.”

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