Opinion: Transparency and Prop 403: A Clear Choice for Tempe’s Future

Viewpoints Opinion Column

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In this current election, in addition to being able to vote for three candidates running for City Council, residents have the opportunity to vote on Proposition 403, a ballot initiative that would amend Tempe’s charter, requiring the disclosure of any and all dark money spent in our City elections.

This effort has been spearheaded by Councilmember Lauren Kuby, a constant advocate for campaign finance reform in our community. If voters approve Prop 403, Tempe will be the first city in Arizona to shine the light on dark money.

During her first term in office, Lauren has already made strong inroads to creating a more just city government, championing both campaign finance reform and government transparency. On this ballot, Tempe residents not only have the opportunity to create more transparent elections through a “Yes” vote on Prop 403, but also to Keep Kuby, a strong leader who is dedicated and has exceptional integrity.

Here are five examples where Lauren’s leadership has helped reduce the impact of money in local politics

  1. Campaign Finance Reports: Lauren and her Working Group created an easily searchable, online resource that displays every expenditure and contribution.

  2. Campaign Contribution Limits: Lauren led a successful 2016 Tempe Ballot Initiative that limited individual campaign contributions to $500 (it used to be $6250 per person, imagine that!)

  3. Political Action Committees: PAC contributions, previously unlimited, are now capped at $10,000. These contributions are not dark money, but are fully disclosed.

  4.  Lobbyist Registry: Paid lobbyists doing business with the City of Tempe (City Council, Boards & Commissions/Hearing Officer) must now register with the City and report their spending.

  5. Lobbyist Contributions: Because of Lauren’s leadership, Council candidates are now required to highlight donations that come from lobbyists.

 

And now, with Prop 403, Tempe voters will weigh in on the influence of dark money in their elections. As Lauren has said: “We candidates disclose our donations, why shouldn’t Independent Expenditure groups be asked to disclose their donors as well?

As you can see, Councilmember Kuby has an unmatched track record for turning words into action. Her work in her first term in office inspires hope, and her re-election promises to advance principled,  action-oriented leadership in Tempe. I’m proud to cast one of my three City Council votes to Keep Kuby on the Council.

 

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