Judge Rules 2020 Candidates Cannot Rely On Secret Donations Law While It's Under Appeal

By Holliday Moore
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, August 9, 2019 - 11:40am
Updated: Friday, August 9, 2019 - 1:51pm

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge will not allow political candidates to rely on dark money donations protected by a 2017 law, at least not while that law is under review.

In a new ruling, the judge rejected a legal argument that suspending the law, while it is under appeal, will be too confusing for donors.

Instead, the judge said it is unjust to rely on a law he has already deemed unconstitutional.

Challengers with the Arizona Advocacy Network have urged that the ruling should take effect immediately.

"Because it restores the Clean Elections Act and the safeguards citizens put in place in 1998," said AAN Attorney Jim Barton, who explained the law says, "that certain behaviors and certain contributions are going to be monitored by the Clean Elections Commission. And that includes when an entity acts like a political action committee."

In 2017, Gov. Doug Ducey signed Republican sponsored legislation allowing candidates to use public disclosure loopholes, including permitting political parties to secretly donate unlimited dollars through ambiguously named organizations.

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