AG Tom Horne, Secretary
of State Bennett and Rep. Farnsworth Announce New Legislation To
Strengthen Corporate Disclosure Reporting Requirements
Arizonans Deserve To Know Who is Influencing
The Outcome of Elections
PHOENIX – Attorney General Tom Horne, Secretary
of State Ken Bennett and Representative Eddie Farnsworth today in
a news conference announced new legislation, House Bill 2385, a
bill that will make changes to existing law related to campaign
finance regulations and so called “Citizens United” organizations.
The bill will ensure the integrity of Arizona's electoral process
by expanding corporate disclosure requirements.
Currently, a corporation, limited liability company, or labor organization
that makes expenditures to influence the outcome of an election
(independent expenditures), of more than $5,000 statewide, or $2,500
legislative, or $1,000 local, shall register and notify the appropriate
filing officer one day after making an expenditure. However, this
has proved inadequate, and the new legislation will strengthen disclosure
requirements and ensure that the sources of political ads are known
to the public.
Attorney General Tom Horne stated: “The US Supreme Court in the
Citizens United opinion said: "the First Amendment protects
political speech; and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders
to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way. This
transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and
give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”
The current laws should be strengthened to mandate the necessary
reporting required to know who is contributing in the political
races around the state. Many corporations have established themselves
just in advance of an election, for the primary purpose of funding
a campaign and influencing the outcome.
In the wake of the 'Citizens United' ruling by the Supreme Court,
numerous corporations were seemingly formed for no other purpose
than to influence our electoral process," said Secretary Bennett.
"Our legislation seeks to ensure that a corporation, limited
liability company or labor organization disclose their contributions
and expenditures when exercising their 1st amendment rights to free
"Our office received numerous complaints regarding these entities
last cycle and our efforts to bring them into compliance with the
state's campaign finance law proved to be a challenge. This bill
strengthens the law and provides the additional tools necessary
for successful enforcement of state statutes."
"Transparency and accountability are vital when it comes to
elections," Representative Farnsworth said. "In 2011 we
saw a proliferation of new corporations participating in local elections.
If these entities primary purpose is to influence an election, they
should simply form as a political committee and file their campaign
finance reports. Our goal is to allow the public the opportunity
to see who is making political expenditures in a campaign and where
the money came from."
Horne added: “The changes we propose today will provide the Attorney
General's office with the ability to investigate groups that fail
to register, will provide private citizens with a right to bring
actions, and will provide for injunctions, so that illegal action
can be stopped before it determines the outcome of an election,
and fines at that point become meaningless.”