The kind of dark money that operates in plain sight

11 Aug 2016 01:33 am
Posted by: Donna

rock products flyer

Several LD 27 (South Phoenix) Democrats who got the above flyer are understandably fuming about it. Incumbent Senator Catherine Miranda is about as Democratic-in-name-only as a DINO can get. She’s anti-choice and has a penchant for doing things like endorsing Doug Ducey and Michele Reagan. Ick. Fortunately, she’s got a strong challenger for the upcoming primary in Maritza Miranda Saenz.

Senator Miranda’s seatmates are Reps Rebecca Rios and Reginald Bolding, both of whom are popular Democrats with solid records on the issues we care about. Both have issued statements on Facebook that they are not endorsing in the Senate primary (probably a prudent move on their parts) and did not authorize the statement made in the flyer.

But in that flyer the three incumbents are described as a “team” (along with the cheap shot at Saenz – “cheap imitation”). This would imply that Miranda, Rios, and Bolding are running as a slate, which they are not. Candidates will often run as slates to pool their resources and improve the chances of all of them winning, but they do this by mutual agreement, which clearly has not happened here.

The Arizona Rock Products Association, or Rock PAC, is responsible for the mailer and it’s likely that they are trying to boost corporate lobbyist-friendly Miranda (who is in a competitive primary) by tapping into the popularity and good will that Rios and Bolding (who aren’t in a tough primary) have with engaged Dems in LD27.

Shady.

But, it should be noted, this is not even an example of what has come to be known as “dark money”. Dark money is funding that comes from, say, APS, that is then funneled to madeup entities, typically called innocuous things like Arizonans for Smart Energy and whatnot, that use it to support or attack certain candidates or ballot measures. It is called “dark” because the true donors are undisclosed.

Rock PAC is a political committee registered with the Secretary of State that discloses all of its donors and expenditures, and you can see in the (tiny) print below the endorsement on the flyer where they state who they are and their non-connection with candidate’s campaigns. There’s no need for them to go the Sean Noble shell game route since, unlike APS, Arizona Rock Products Association is not getting constant negative press. But maybe they should start getting it. Why are they so interested in a Democratic primary in South Phoenix?

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