Last week, the Supreme Court made a decision which has sent ripples through the world of “dark money” campaign finance at the national level, but don’t expect it to result in more disclosures of anonymous spending at the local level.
Conservative group Crossroads GPS was appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking them to reverse a decision made by a lower court that would require the group to disclose its donors. America’s highest court declined to freeze the lower court’s ruling and has left the Federal Election Commission’s regulation in place through the midterm election.
In Arizona, earlier this year, Rep. Vince Leach (R-SaddleBrooke) sponsored legislation that makes it illegal for any government agency to force disclosure of donors to nonprofits, partially in response to a Tempe campaign finance disclosure ordinance. Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law after it was approved by Republican lawmakers.
But the SCOTUS ruling won’t affect the new law, and there is no indication that the attitudes among Arizona Republican legislators toward anonymous campaign spending have shifted in favor of letting voters know who is trying to influence their vote.
“It only affects spending in federal elections,” Joel Edman, Executive Director for Arizona Advocacy Network said. “That said, it’s certainly good to see the Court once again siding with transparency.”
It’s still unclear how far back the ruling impacts, how it will be enforced and what the FEC will do next.
For now, advocacy groups, politicians and non-profits will have to wait for SCOTUS to make a more permanent ruling to see where dark money goes next.