Journal: Fighting Dark Money

Today I dropped two bills.  

The first would require any public service utility to disclose the money that it spends for or against candidates in the Corporation Commission.

Wait. Don’t let your eyes glaze over just yet. Let me explain. 


In 2014, APS (we believe) spent somewhere in the ballpark of $1.7 million to influence the election of the elected body that regulates it most directly —the Corporation Commission. I say, “we believe” because they hid the money through pass-through corporations and won’t admit to what they are probably doing.

In other words, APS is a regulated monopoly and the Corporation Commission decides what they can do —how much they can charge you for electricity and how much clean, renewable energy they are required to install.

In the past, APS has restrained itself admirably by not spending money in the Corporation Commission races. However, the new leadership at APS is aggressive in its distain for your right to have solar on your home and they are aggressive in their support of hiding how they spend money in these races. 

This is a sad development, not only for proponents of clean energy, but even more for those of us who value a transparent democracy.

Further, APS has set a bad precedence for other regulated monopolies in Arizona which are probably not spending money in their own regulated bodies.

As complicated as elections law can be, this issue can be boiled down to this: When monopolies can hide the money they spend in our elections, our democracy is damaged.

I will have the bill number for you soon. Please contact the Speaker’s office and your state representative in support of this measure. This measure is dropping along with other important disclosure bills offered by my fellow Democrats. You can find those here. 

The second bill would require county recorders to let you know if there is something wrong with your ballot when you vote by mail so that you have an opportunity to fix it. 

If you vote a provisional ballot (meaning you carry your vote by mail ballot in to a polling place), and if there is a problem with the ballot (maybe your signature did not match), the recorders must contact you so you have a chance to repair the defect.

However, they are not required to let you know if your early ballot is defective. Some do, some don’t, but they are not required to do it. 

When over 3,000 early ballots were thrown out in this last election and others in previous years, those voters have a right to know that their vote did not count and they have a right to see if they can correct the defect in the ballot.

It’s as simple as that.

Again, I am asking for your support in seeing these bills through the process and your support in my efforts to speak to the public about the importance of these issues.