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State election chief seeks new funds for hobbled campaign finance website overhaul

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan campaigned on making it easier for people to see how money flows into political campaigns, and she has a plan for a website that will help.

But after spending $494,000 in 2015 and 2016 to create a new campaign finance reporting website that never saw the light of day, her office is now asking the Citizens Clean Election Commission to pay $200,000 of an estimated $462,000 cost to develop a new campaign finance website, plus $50,000 per year in maintenance.

Crystal’s Cage

Crystal’s Cage: Her mother romanced a prison guard. Then a detective. One gave Crystal life. The other helped dig the 3-year-old’s grave. This is the story of her brief existence and the cold case investigation into her murder, as told through nearly two decades of police reports and court testimony. Crystal’s case continues today.

AZCIR hires incoming executive director and editor

PHOENIX – Longtime Arizona journalist and editor Jim Small is joining the staff of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting as its incoming executive director and editor, where he’ll oversee the Center’s journalism and business operations starting in 2017.

Small joins the Center from the Arizona Capitol Times where he served as the Arizona News Service editor since 2011. In that role, he oversaw all editorial content for the weekly Arizona Capitol Times newspaper, azcapitoltimes.com, and daily insider tipsheets Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report.

Under his leadership, the Capitol Times was twice named the non-daily Newspaper of the Year by the Arizona Newspaper Association and became known for its sharp analysis of state politics and hard-nosed accountability journalism focused on data and public records.

Maricopa County GOP to poll watchers: Follow, photograph voters if voter fraud suspected

Democrats who have become increasingly worried about possible voter intimidation at the polls say local Republicans could find themselves on the wrong side of the law, after a poll watching training led by the Maricopa County GOP. Republican activists there were told to follow and photograph voters they suspect of breaking a new Arizona law banning “ballot harvesting.”

The situation is further complicated by the fact that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday temporarily blocked the new law that makes it a felony to collect and submit someone else’s mail-in ballot.

AZCIR recognized for community service and investigative reporting

The Arizona Newspapers Association recognized AZCIR’s reporting over the past year with top honors at this past weekend’s 2016 Better Newspaper Contest. In addition to being awarded second place for overall community service and journalistic achievement for daily news organizations with less than 25,000 circulation, the Center took home four individual awards.

Three-quarters of ‘outside’ election spending in AZ comes with scant disclosure

Of the $1.9 million spent this cycle by “outside groups” to affect Arizona elections, $565,000 – or about 30 percent – comes with no disclosure of the source of the money. Such “dark money” groups report only expenditures intended to help elect or defeat particular candidates. They don’t report sources of income. But another 45 percent of the “outside money,” which is spent by groups other than candidates themselves, cannot be traced to an original source.

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