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Lawmakers Move to Close Loophole in Campaign Finance Laws

Howard Fischer
Attorney General Tom Horne (left), Secretary of State Ken Bennett, and Representative Edward Farnsworth

A 2010 United States Supreme Court ruling says corporations have the right to spend as much as they want supporting or opposing any candidate as long as they do that independent of the candidate's campaign. Secretary of State Ken Bennett said some corporations suddenly popped up last year during the Phoenix mayoral race and the Russell Pearce recall claiming that they did not have to disclose the SOURCE of their funds. 

This new measure sponsored by Rep. Eddie Farnsworth says companies formed largely for the purpose of influencing an election have to not only register as political committees but file the same kind of reports of contributions and expenses.

"Now we will have people," said Farnsworth, "the people who are the voters, who will be able to look at these organizations and know very clearly who's contributing, where the expenditures are going, and who's doing it. And it's not done under a cloak of secrecy."

Attorney General Tom Horne said the legislation has one other important provision, the remedy of injunction, "so that illegal activity can be stopped before it determines the outcome of an election, which is a point at which fines become unimportant."

The legislation has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee which Farnsworth heads, meaning it will get a hearing.