What types of PACs are contributing to Arizona candidates?




This is the fourth story in an ongoing series on spending by political action committees.

Political action committees, commonly referred to as PACs, are an easy way for candidates to raise money for their campaigns.

PACs and candidates can often have a symbiotic relationship with PACs helping fund a candidate’s run and a candidate often taking up the cause a PAC may represent.

Millions in PAC money has already flowed into Arizona this cycle for a variety of causes, from alcoholic beverage distributors to nurses and orthodontists, all looking for representation in Arizona government.

But all PACs are not created equal.

Some have have amassed far larger war chests than others and are flexing their spending muscles this election.

For example, Pinnacle West, the company that owns Arizona Public Service has spent well over $91,300 on contributions to candidates alone. Their fillings with the Secretary of State show they’ve spent nearly $1 million.

On top of spending money on candidates, Pinnacle West has also given $30,000 to other PACs, such as the New Pioneers PAC, which is operated by Oregon Republican state Rep. Greg Walden.

But large industries like APS are not the only ones with lots of money in Arizona races.

Unions, like the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99 PAC, have spent a good chunk of money, as well.

UFCW has spent about $1 million this election cycle, including $81,500 to candidates and hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Arizona Democratic Party. Another $55,000 has gone to other PACs.

A large portion of that money has gone to the Flagstaff Needs a Raise PAC which is advocating against the passage of local Proposition 418 that aims to reduce the city’s minimum wage to make it more in line with the state’s.

But PACs are not always run by corporations or unions. Sometimes they’re run by people: for example, the Safeguarding American LIberties Morals and Opportunities Now PAC, aka the SALMON PAC.

The PAC gets its name from its Chairman, former Arizona congressman Matt Salmon.

The PAC has spent over $16,000 in contributions to candidates and has spent all of the $45,700 in its coffers this cycle, according to the most recent filling.

Like many other PACs spending in Arizona, Salmon’s PAC, despite having a former Arizona representative as the chairman, is not based in the state.

Many committees spending money in Arizona are based out of the Washington D.C. area. Salmon’s PAC is based in Virginia, about 20 minutes away from the heart of D.C.

Many of the PACs spending the most money, like Pinnacle West and Cox Communications, are based out of buildings all within driving distance of each other in the heart of the nation’s capital.

Here is a rundown of some of the top spenders.

Pinnacle West: Has spent more than $91,300 in contributions so far to candidates across the political spectrum.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 99: Has spent more than $81,500 in contributions so far to candidates, mainly Democrats.

Arizona Professional Firefighters Association: Has spent more than $35,950 in contributions so far to candidates, mainly Republicans.

Salt River Project: Has spent more than $30,900 in contributions so far to candidates across the political spectrum.

Cox Communications: Has spent over $30, 750 in contributions so far to candidates across the political spectrum.

Arizona Education Association Fund for Public Education: Has spent over $25,000 in contributions to candidates so far, mainly Democrats.

Realtors of Arizona: Has spent more than $19,800 in contributions so far to candidates across the political spectrum.

Matt Salmon PAC: Has spent more than $16,000 in contributions so far to candidates, all Republicans.

Jerod MacDonald-Evoy
Reporter Jerod MacDonald-Evoy joins the Arizona Mirror from the Arizona Republic, where he spent 4 years covering everything from dark money in politics to Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals. Jerod has also won awards for his documentary films which have covered issues such as religious tolerance and surveillance technology used by police. He brings strong watchdog sensibilities and creative storytelling skills to the Arizona Mirror.

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