The grassroots advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity (AFP) filed a lawsuit in the Arizona District Court Friday in opposition to Arizona’s newly enacted “dark money” law, alleging that it presents possible first amendment violations.
“The First Amendment safeguards the right of individuals to donate to private advocacy organizations without undue risk that they will be subjected to their identities being disclosed or other chilling by the government,” according to the complaint.
Two initiatives sponsored by progressives are still on the ballot for now, after judges rejected challenges from conservative groups challenging them. The “Voters Right to Know Act” (VRKA), which adds new disclosure requirements regarding campaign spending, was challenged over submitting incorrect campaign addresses. The “Protection from Predatory Debt Collection Act” (PPDCA), which is backed by a California-based employee union and makes broad changes to debt collecting laws, was challenged for an “inaccurate and misleading” ballot description. Despite the adverse rulings, attorneys say they plan to appeal.
President Scot Mussi, president of the Arizona Free Enterprise Club which filed the lawsuit against VRKA, said there is another reason the ballot initiative may ultimately fail. “The practical implications of it is that this information will be used to dox, harass and intimidate anyone for supporting various organizations,” he said Monday. He cited a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year that rejected California’s effort to have nonprofits identify their major donors.
Five ballot proposals addressing voting may be on this fall’s ballot if their sponsors collect enough signatures. Three of them, known as referendums, seek to stop legislation from becoming law, requiring 118,823 signatures each. The other ballot initiatives need 237,645 signatures each. Even if all the signatures are collected, a successful legal challenge could keep them off the ballot.