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Proposed State Constitutional Amendment Would Ban Dark Money in Arizona

Ryan VanVelzer/AP

An Arizona group is attempting to ban so-called dark money in state elections. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, their proposal would amend the state constitution to require the disclosures of major donors.

The Outlaw Dirty Money initiative would require groups that spend more than $10,000 in an election to reveal the identities of those who give at least $2,500. Under current law, nonprofit political organizations can keep their sources secret.

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard is spearheading the effort.

"Dirty money has just flooded Arizona in the last several election cycles. You just have no confidence that your vote counts if you can’t tell who’s behind those ads that are trying to influence you," he says.

Goddard says the proposed constitutional amendment would prevent state lawmakers from making changes if it’s passed.

Some groups, however, say forcing the disclosure of donors would be a violation of freedom of speech and privacy rights, and make them vulnerable to political retaliation.

Supporters of the proposal must gather more than 225,000 signatures by July 5th for it to appear on the November ballot.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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