‘Dark Money’ casts shadow over city council election

The first thing I would like to say to the residents of Scottsdale is “Thank you.”

Kathy Littlefield

Kathy Littlefield

Thank you for all your support, your help with petitions, signs, calling, emails, walking neighborhoods, holding meet and greets, and all the other time-consuming things you did to help me defeat the dark money and end up “in the money.”

We had a true grassroots campaign, and your help made possible my successful bid to represent you, the current citizens of Scottsdale.

Never think you cannot make a difference in an election! Fifty four votes out of over 28,000 ballots cast separated those winning vs. those losing this election.

You mattered. Thank you.

I would also like to thank those individuals and organizations that endorsed me.

To the Coalition of Greater Scottsdale, Police Officers of Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Firefighters, you gave my campaign credibility and strength.

Finally, thank you to Marg Nelssen, my campaign Chairwoman, and to my wonderful husband, Bob Littlefield, whose support, encouragement and advice was invaluable to me over the past year.

Looking back over the past year’s election process, however, a new and extremely dangerous election element has emerged. I believe it needs to be studied and understood by every citizen in the country, not just in Scottsdale. It is now nationwide.

I am speaking about the “Dark Money,” which infiltrated our election process at all levels and destroyed accountability and transparency in our election process. At its most extreme, it has the potential to destroy our free and open election process.

Dark money is spent by those with something to gain if their candidates are elected to office.

They put together large pools of money, spend it to the benefit of particular candidates, and in return they will garner a return on this “investment”, i.e. votes and influence which favor them.

This is how it works:  A nonprofit corp. is formed. Because it’s a nonprofit, donors do not have to be divulged. Money accumulates within the nonprofit.

In the case of my Scottsdale election, the non-profit was called Scottsdale Strong. Next, a political Political Action Committee is formed. With this organization, money sources must be divulged. Again using our city election as an example, the PAC was called Scottsdale United.

Its chairman was a Phoenix zoning attorney who represents developers with zoning cases before councils here in the Valley, and its treasurer was Judy Eisenhower, the President of the Scottsdale Passenger Association for Light Rail.

This gives you a hint as to what their agenda is.  The sole source of money to Scottsdale United was Scottsdale Strong!

They paid Scottsdale United in huge lump sum amounts and did not have to account for who gave the money to them or why. Who is Scottsdale Strong?  We don’t know — except that Mrs. Eisenhower was the treasurer for both.

All we see is signs along the roadways go up, denouncing the candidate they do not want elected. Negative mailers are sent to voters, decrying those they do not want in office.

The main point here is this: They cannot be held responsible for what they say or do because we do not know who they are. They can lie with impunity — and they do.

They can make stuff up — and they do. And voters cannot call them to account. They hide in the shadows and hope you won’t notice. Approximately $100,000 dollars was spent in this way in Scottsdale’s election alone to try to defeat me in particular, but also David Smith, and Cindy Hill.

It really makes you wonder what is coming up on the Council agendas that they want so badly, doesn’t it?

So, what can a voter do to protect his vote and understand when the dark money payments are being made?  I admit it adds to your voting responsibilities. However, there are a few steps you can take that are not too difficult. Go to the City Clerk’s website and look at the listed PACs that have opened for the election.

Those that receive large lump sums of money from nonprofits or without individuals named as funding sources should be questioned.  Also, when you get a mailer at your home, look to see who paid for it.

If it does not come from the campaign of an individual candidate or a known and trusted PAC that names its donors, treat it as “dark” with the motive unknown and probably not good for the citizens of Scottsdale.  If it were good, they would not have to hide!

Throw them away, or make a list of them to warn your neighbors and friends.

Responsible citizens can speak out and not let this kind of deception occur.  The election process is the basic right we have as citizens to protect our freedoms and way of life.

Protect it, my friends, to protect yourselves and Scottsdale.

Editor’s note: Mrs. Littlefield takes her seat on Scottsdale City Council this January

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