A group working to change election laws and tighten up rules on “dark money” is facing a complaint that it is illegally hiding the source of its own cash. Tim LaSota, attorney for the Arizona Republican Party, said that former gubernatorial hopeful Paul Johnson is taking donations and spending money to craft an initiative for the 2016 ballot. LaSota said that means he needs to comply with campaign finance laws. But Johnson, who previously was the mayor of Phoenix, said he is doing nothing illegal. He said the requirement to report is triggered by actually coming up with specific language to put on the ballot, something that has not yet occurred. Only then, Johnson said, need he disclose who is financing the effort.
Johnson is looking to deal with two issues. One would have all candidates run in a wide-open primary. Then the top-two vote-getters in each race would face off in the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
That would affect virtually all elections, including county, legislative and statewide offices, as well as members of Congress. It also would overrule the current system in Tucson, the lone city in Arizona which has kept partisan local races.
The other is aimed at tightening up laws which currently permit certain groups which spend money to elect candidates to avoid disclosing the true source of their funding.