State Elections Director Says Arizona Free Enterprise Club Violating Law

Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - 11:32am

Arizona’s Elections Director says a group that has spent nearly $1.7 million to influence this year’s state primary is probably violating campaign finance laws. 

Christina Estes-Werther said her office believes the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is required to disclose the source of the money it’s spending. 

But attorney Mike Liburdi, who represents the club, said it’s exempt from the law despite all the money it has spent.

“This organization, which has existed for nine years, is not organized, and that's the word used in the statute, is not organized for the primary purpose of influencing elections. It's a social welfare advocacy educational association," Liburdi said.

But Estes-Werther said nothing she’s seen justifies the claim that the club’s spending on behalf of Justin Pierce for Secretary of State and Doug Little and Tom Forese for Corporation Commission is only incidental to the club’s purpose. 

Her findings have been sent to the attorney general’s office. But given the court fight likely to follow it’s doubtful voters will know the source of the money before Tuesday’s primary and they may not know before the November general election.

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