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HomeLatest NewsArizona's Prop. 211 to limit 'dark money' hit with lawsuit to stop...

Arizona’s Prop. 211 to limit ‘dark money’ hit with lawsuit to stop it – The Arizona Republic

Two politically active groups and two unnamed citizens are seeking an injunction to block a voter-approved initiative that would require disclosure of anonymous donors in election campaigns.

The effort challenges Proposition 211, which won 72.3% voter approval in the Nov. 8 election. The measure garnered wide support with its argument that the public has a right to know who is funding many of the anonymous messages from so-called dark money organizations.

But the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and the Center for Arizona Policy Action, along with two unnamed individuals who donate to anonymous campaigns, argue in a lawsuit that the proposition is unconstitutional because it chills free-speech rights and violates the separation of powers by giving oversight of the act to an unelected state commission.

Voters gave the Citizens Clean Elections Commission the power to create new rules for the act, interpret them and enforce them, duties that the suit argues belong to the legislative, executive and judicial branches, respectively.

The lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court also seeks a permanent injunction to keep the new law from taking effect. The Goldwater Institute is representing the plaintiffs.

Terry Goddard, the co-chair of the Proposition 211 campaign, said the litigation was expected. He declined to comment on the filing until he has had time to review it with attorneys.

“It doesn’t appear to be anything surprising,” said Goddard, a former state attorney general. He noted that the Citizens United case, which the U.S. Supreme Court decided a decade ago, did not find evidence that disclosure of anonymous donors harmed free speech.

The ballot measure, also known as the Citizens’ Right to Know Act, requires disclosure of any individual who makes a financial contribution of $5,000 or more to a committee that spends at least $50,000 on a statewide or legislative ad campaign. For local elections, the amounts would be $2,500 for any individual donation to a campaign spending at least $25,000.

It contrasts that with the disclosure requirements for individuals who give to candidate and political action committees. They have to disclose their name, address and occupation in public reports.

Reach the reporter at and follow her on Twitter @maryjpitzl.

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