Secretary Reagan Finds Reason to Believe Dark Money Group Violated Arizona Campaign Finance Law

July 9, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. – July 9, 2015 – Torres Law Group (TLG) is pleased to learn that Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan today issued a reasonable cause determination against the out-of-state, dark money entity known as the Veterans for a Strong America (VSA). The determination is in response to a complaint TLG filed on behalf of Arizona voter David Pearsall.

“Today’s enforcement action from the Secretary is even more notable because it marks the first time her office has made a reasonable cause determination and referred a dark money campaign finance case to the Arizona Attorney General for action,” said TLG attorney Jim Barton. “We are confident that this is only the first of many more violations to be uncovered when dark money groups are investigated.”

The Secretary of State agreed with TLG that VSA violated independent expenditure reporting requirements for an advertisement against Christine Jones. VSA attempted to challenge the failed reporting by insisting the ad was not express advocacy and in the alternative challenging Arizona’s definition of express advocacy as unconstitutional.

The Secretary rejected both of VSA’s arguments and explained an Arizona Court of Appeals ruling was controlling. That ruling held that Arizona’s definition of express advocacy was constitutional under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The penalty for the above violation is up to three times the amount of the expenditures at issue. The fine is to be collected through a civil action brought by the Arizona Attorney General.

Torres Law Group, PLLC is a Tempe-based law firm promoting the interests of Arizona’s working families by advising political action committees, social welfare nonprofits and labor groups. The firm litigates a variety of matters, including Freedom of Information Act claims, election-law issues and labor disputes in state and federal court.

Contact: Shannon Reed, 602-626-8805