NOVEMBER 11, 2015

Dark money group continues to flout court order

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Phoenix – Following up on her call for a dark money group to comply with a court order, Secretary Reagan and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery have filed a motion which seeks to hold the Committee for Justice and Fairness (CJF) in contempt of court.

In 2010, former Secretary of State Ken Bennett began an investigation into political advertisements criticizing then Attorney General candidate Tom Horne. The ads, funded by the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, were determined to be “false” and “inaccurate” by an Administrative Law Judge and the ruling was subsequently confirmed by the Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court.

In its decision, the court found CJF to be a political committee because it spent $1.5 million on the commercial and in effect admitted in IRS filings its primary purpose was election activity. These admissions by CJF make it a political committee under both the old and new definition of “political committee” in Arizona law.

“I’m deeply troubled by any political organization that refuses to comply with a court order,” said Secretary Reagan. “This particular group has disregarded our laws for too long and I’m looking forward to hearing why they have refused to comply with a court mandate. As Chief Elections Officer, I will do everything I can within the law to unveil faux corporations disguised as political committees."

This is the second such appeal upon so-called dark money groups to comply with campaign finance law since taking office. Earlier this year, Secretary Reagan determined that an out-of-state nonprofit corporation, Veterans for a Strong America, failed to file independent expenditure reports related to an attack ad during the 2014 gubernatorial election.

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