Ward Connerly’s Plans to Buy a Vote in Arizona

Ward Connerly considers his plans to buy elections, one state at a time.

Proposition 107 is bad news for equal opportunity in Arizona. But, Ward Connerly, no friend to diversity efforts, has dedicated himself to pushing this effort through in November. His American Civil Rights Initiative (ACRI) worked with State Senator Russell Pearce and State Representative Steve Montenegro to bypass signature requirements generally needed to put a ballot measure to popular vote; instead, our esteemed state politicians used their positions to force Proposition 107 onto the ballot without the input of registered voters.

Last year, Ward Connerly promised to pour money into Arizona in order to ensure passage of Proposition 107.

Connerly said he would devote money to see a “decisive” victory for the referendum in 2010.

“I don’t want to win by a squeaker,” said Connerly, who is seeking similar reforms in Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado, where opponents of preferential programs narrowly lost at the ballot in 2008.

The Arizona Civil Rights Initiative, a ballot committee registered last May (and bearing the same name as the group that lobbied in support of a similar measure that failed to garner sufficient signatures to make it on the ballot in 2008) has received more than $31,000 in donations in the last year.  In addition to receiving roughly $1,000 leftover from the 2008 committee coffers, the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative has received three donations: $18,000 (on June 5, 2009), $8,000 (on December 2, 2009) and $5,000 (on February 5, 2010) from the American Civil Rights Committee (ACRC) — the committee responsible for ACRI. The ACRC is headquartered in Sacramento, California; thus, these donations represent more than $31,000 of out-of-state money being poured into Arizona from a single group in California, to change the Constitution of this state.

Of the $32,000.99 that the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative has received over the last year, $26,513.12 has been paid to a single source: KRB Consulting, a political lobbying firm in Phoenix. KRB received two payments of roughly $8,800 on June 29, 2009, and has a third payment of approximately $8,800 last December. This year, a web and graphics design company, Integrated Web Strategies, was an additional beneficiary of the ACRC’s deep pockets: they received a payment of $5,000 for “professional services – web/graphic design” on February 10th, 2010. For a group whose 2008 website was a carbon copy of the ACRI’s central website, $5,000 seems an awful steep price to pay for web services. But, I guess if you’re capable of funnelling more than half a million dollars into another state to buy an election (as occurred for the 2008 attempt to place this measure on the ballot), a mere $5,000 is just pocket change.

We can conclude one thing from all of this: Ward Connerly’s not going to let a little thing like money stop him from buying himself a political victory in Arizona this November.

Cross-posted: Blog for Arizona

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