Subscribe. Stay informed.

Get AZCIR’s latest investigations and updates delivered straight into your inbox.

PHOENIX – Arizona lawmakers considering a bill that would reduce regulation on groups that spend money in elections without disclosing the source benefitted by more than $900,000 during the 2014 election cycle, in what’s dubbed “dark money” spending.

In the Arizona House of Representatives, roughly $417,000 was spent by dark money groups to help elect 29 of the body’s 60 members. Almost all of that spending — $404,000 — went to help Republican lawmakers.

In the Arizona Senate, dark money groups spent $495,000 to help elect 18 of the body’s 30 members. About 88 percent of that — $436,000 — went to help Republicans.*

Dark money groups are classified in the state’s campaign finance database as “Independent Expenditure (Corp/LLC/Labor),” a subset of “Independent Expenditure” spending. The groups report spending on elections, but not who has given them money.

Senate Bill 1516 passed 18-10 along party lines in the Arizona Senate, with only Republican support. It is expected to receive a full vote in the House of Representatives today.

The provision of the bill pertaining to dark money regulation would get rid of the current requirement for the groups to spend more than half of their money for “social welfare,” meaning non-election spending. Instead, as long as the Internal Revenue Service holds the group in good standing, they could spend all of their money on elections.

If the bill passes in the House, it will go to Gov. Doug Ducey who will either sign or veto it. Ducey benefitted from $3.5 million in dark money spending in 2014.

Dark money spending that is attributed to a lawmaker combines the money spent by dark money groups advocating for their election, or advocating for the defeat of their opponents.

RepresentativeOfficeName "Dark Money" Advocating Election "Dark Money" Advocating Defeat of Opponent Total "Dark Money" Help
Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R - PhoenixState Representative - District 28 $1,250.00 $44,733.22 $45,983.22
Rep. Jill Norgaard, R - PhoenixState Representative - District 18 $37,336.22 $- $37,336.22
Rep. Jay Lawrence, R - ScottsdaleState Representative - District 23 $25,754.75 $5,822.85 $31,577.60
Rep. Doug Coleman, R - Apache JunctionState Representative - District 16 $29,169.60 $- $29,169.60
Rep. Darin Mitchell, R - Litchfield ParkState Representative - District 13 $13,966.40 $12,565.22 $26,531.62
Rep. Vince Leach, R - TucsonState Representative - District 11 $24,745.50 $1,159.99 $25,905.49
Rep. Steve Montenegro, R - Litchfield ParkState Representative - District 13 $10,976.39 $12,565.22 $23,541.61
Rep. Bob Robson, R - ChandlerState Representative - District 18 $22,928.23 $- $22,928.23
Rep. Justin Olson, R - MesaState Representative - District 25 $20,629.53 $- $20,629.53
Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, R - ScottsdaleState Representative - District 23 $13,572.77 $5,822.85 $19,395.62
Total "Dark Money" Spent to help Current Representatives $303,862.14 $113,400.01 $417,262.15
Showing 1 to 10 of 31 entries
RepresentativeOfficeName "Dark Money" Advocating Election "Dark Money" Advocating Defeat of Opponent Total "Dark Money" Help
Sen. Bob Worsley, R - MesaState Senator - District No. 25 $87,891.79 $32,216.72 $120,108.51
Sen. Catherine Miranda, D - PhoenixState Senator - District No. 27 $88,612.40 $- $88,612.40
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R - SnowflakeState Senator - District No. 6 $20,026.32 $56,883.63 $76,909.95
Sen. Jeff Dial, R - ChandlerState Senator - District No. 18 $55,393.57 $1,052.16 $56,445.73
Sen. Carlyle Begay, R* - Window RockState Senator - District No. 7 $43,999.82 $- $43,999.82
Sen. Steve Smith, R - MaricopaState Senator - District No. 11 $22,888.99 $15,934.02 $38,823.01
Sen. John Kavanagh, R - Fountain HillsState Senator - District No. 23 $33,603.79 $2,532.10 $36,135.89
Sen. Don Shooter, R - YumaState Senator - District No. 13 $6,603.37 $- $6,603.37
Sen. David Farnsworth, R - MesaState Senator - District No. 16 $6,000.00 $- $6,000.00
Sen. Barbara McGuire, D - KearnyState Senator - District No. 8 $5,500.00 $- $5,500.00
Total "Dark Money" Spent to help Current Senators $385,971.64 $108,618.63 $494,590.27
Showing 1 to 10 of 20 entries

Note: *Sen. Carlyle Begay changed from a Democrat to a Republican last year. If dark money spending on his 2014 candidacy is counted as going toward a Republican, it brings the portion spent on Republicans up to $481,000, or 97 percent of the overall dark money spending.

Correction: A previous version of this story erroneously reported overall spending figures. Some expenditures were not included in seven individual lawmakers’ totals. Three lawmakers’ totals included expenditures that should have been excluded.

Support AZCIR

AZCIR Newsletter