Political donors could spend unlimited amounts on food and beverages to throw extravagant fundraisers without having to disclose a single dollar under a sweeping campaign finance bill the Arizona House passed Monday. GOP Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office is backing the campaign finance overhaul that critics call a back-door attempt to expand the influence of anonymous political spending in Arizona elections. Democrats attempted to obstruct the bill on the House floor during debate, but were overcome by the Republican majority.
Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, led the charge with a series of amendments he said would limit future corruption, but none passed. “We only touched on five problems on this bill, but there’s a problem on every page,” he said. “This is a lack of disclosure and I think in the end, the public will not stand for it.”
Despite the opposition, many Republicans held fast in support. Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, spoke on behalf of the bill and in defense of anonymous political spending. “I think transparency is generally a good principle but it is not the overarching principle,” he said adding that too much transparency could aid government oppression.