Friday, June 12, 2015

Will the real Michele Reagan take a stand?

Tim Steller at the Daily Star/tucson.com features Secretary of State Michele Reagan's flip-flop on dark money.

Just over a year ago, in February 2014, then-Sen. Michele Reagan lashed out at special interests who opposed a bill meant to force groups trying to influence elections to disclose their donors.

"Everybody that signed in opposition to this bill wants one thing. And that is nothing to happen," she said at a meeting of the Senate elections committee. "They don’t want this discussion. They don’t want changes. They want status quo."

"You should have a problem with that," she went on to tell her fellow committee members. "The 6 million Arizonans out there have a problem with that. It it not right."

Who was that woman? Not the same Michele Reagan who now occupies the office of secretary of state, it seems.

In the last month, Reagan has taken key steps against disclosure in campaigns that seem to reverse her clear stand of just last year.

So what happened here?

It was just a year ago that she was arguing passionately for a bill that would have required all campaign commercials, mailers and similar material to also show the names of the top three contributors.

Then she went through a primary in which she was targeted by massive dark money spending, and a general election in which she benefited from massive dark money spending. Now, she no longer thinks the state has any role in forcing groups that try to influence our elections to disclose their donors.

Steller offers some possible reasons for the flip-flop.

I can’t get inside her head, but I imagine some factors that played a part. Among them: a desire not to let the Clean Elections Commission usurp what she thinks is her authority, a wish to simply clarify who has what jurisdiction, influence from the lawyers who run her office’s elections division, and a fear of the wrath that dark money forces could bring down on her if she acts against them.

If this were a multiple choice test, Scriber would go with alternative D.

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