As next year’s statewide elections get closer, several Arizona agencies are locked in a bitter feud to determine who has the power to police so-called “dark money” groups that spend millions to influence races. The dispute is playing out in complicated legal tit-for-tats, but the heart of the fight is simple: Should the office of Secretary of State Michele Reagan or the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a voter-created body, play the role of enforcer? And is there room for two policemen? It’s unclear how the dispute will get resolved. Ultimately, courts may have to decide.
On one side, Gov. Doug Ducey’s Government Regulatory Review Council, a body that tries to eliminate unneeded rules, has moved to curtail the commission’s authority to monitor the groups.
Republicans argue the commission has overstepped its bounds and waded into Reagan’s turf.
But the commission, which was created when voters passed the Citizens Clean Elections Act in 1998, contends the act gave them that power. They accuse the state of trying to spurn transparency in elections.