Follow. The. Money.
When movers and shakers deem a local election important, money flows through various effort to see success at the ballot box for a particular candidate --- or a political point of view.
In the November 2019 election Scottsdale saw the overwhelming approval of three bond questions and a maintenance and operations budget override for the Scottsdale Unified School District. The city had not passed a major bond package in nearly 19 years, and the list of infrastructure funding was growing.
While thousands of residents voted to invest in their city by approving these additional funds for community wellbeing --- and some monetarily invested in the ballot initiatives --- there was also quite a few organizations, groups and corporations who gave money to Scottsdale’s election. Many of whom, have a vested interest in the success of the city.
In particular, the group formed to garner support for SUSD’s override raised more than $50,000; while the Political Action Committee lobbying for the city’s bonds to pass show receipts totaling $264,441.49 on its third quarter campaign finance report.
In Scottsdale, there are seven active Political Action Committees filed with the city clerk’s office, two education-related PACs filed with the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and two PACs filed with the Secretary of State’s office.
A committee --- often referred to as a PAC --- must register with the local city clerk, identify a chairperson and treasurer and file campaign finance reports.
These finance reports illustrate who donates money to them, and what their money is spent on.
In Scottsdale, the PACs are often political groups supporting or opposing a certain topic.
To support the city’s three bond questions, the PAC “For the Best Scottsdale” was formed with chairperson Paula Sturgeon-Mortensen, a Realtor, and Rose Moser Allyn PR employee, Mary Turner named as treasurer.
Ms. Turner also serves as treasurer on another 2019 PAC formed, titled Rose to Rise. Rose Moser Allyn PR President, Jason Rose, is the chairperson of the PAC.
In total, the seven PACs in Scottsdale are:
This past election season, For the Best Scottsdale PAC used social and online media to share its message of supporting the city’s bond election.
From a great many guest commentaries in the local newspaper, to online ads and physical street signs, For the Best Scottsdale used all the tricks of the trade to see that residents were aware of the benefits of the bond package.
The PAC’s third quarter campaign finance report filed online --- for the period July 1 to Sept. 30 --- shows total cash activity receipts of $264,441.29, with total disbursements of $91,945.11.
The PAC received $30,550 in donations from individuals valued at more than $50 each. While corporations and limited liability companies gave $231,025, and $2,716.49 of in-kind contributions from corporations and LLCs was received.
Individual contributors include $25,000 from Bob Parsons in three separate donations.
The other individual contributions range from $100-$500, except for a $2,500 donation from Martin W. De Rito.
There were 42 corporations and LLC’s who gave funds to For the Best Scottsdale. The largest spenders include:
Meanwhile, many companies contributed $5,000 each, including Sunday Goods, Five Star Development, Phoenix Rising FC, HonorHealth, M Culinary Concepts, and Harkins.
The in-kind contribution was from Waste Management of Arizona.
Several payments were made during the reporting period for operating expenses such as marketing, printing services, consulting, ballot statements and canvassing services.
Rose Moser Allyn PR received three payments totaling $15,721.93.
The PAC also hired Run to Win Campaigns, a local company providing political advice, campaign consulting and canvassing services run by Jon Ryder and his husband, Brion-Neeley Ryder. The Scottsdale couple also runs the statewide PAC, Run to Win Fund.
Filed with the Maricopa County Records Office, the PAC titled Yes to Children was chaired by Melinda Morrison Gulick, and Laurie Jackson serves as treasurer.
Yes to Children has campaign finance documents online dating back to 2002, when the former Scottsdale Community College President, Art DeCabooter was listed as committee chairman.
In its most recent iteration, the committee’s last campaign finance report available online is for the third quarter of 2019: July 1-Sept. 30.
The first and second quarter reports don’t show any donations.
In the time period leading up to the Nov. 5 election, Yes to Children reported $59,008.10 cash activity in total receipts; and $30,932.25 in total disbursements.
The committee received $2,500 from individuals who donated more than $50; and $235 from individuals who donated $50 or less. Political Action Committees donated $3,373.10, and corporations and limited liability companies gave $52,900.
Among the individual donors, Ms. Gulick Morrison and Ms. Jackson both gave $500; while SUSD Governing Board member Jann-Michael Greenburg’s father Mark Greenburg gave $100 during this reporting period.
The $373.10 came from Scottsdale PAC Protect Your Preserve. The corporations and LLC’s who gave to Yes to Children were:
Most of Yes to Children’s spending went to Phoenix-based Primary Consultant, with a reported $28,022.72 payment. In addition to other small purchases, two payments were given to Scottsdale-based media company RO/LO Creative for $2,000 and $600.
The other six Scottsdale PACs have had little-to-no financial doings recently to report.
COGS Political Committee filed an updated statement of organization in October 2019 to name J. Copper Phillips as chairperson, and Stanley Morganstern as treasurer. The committee paid $100 to the city for a statement in the election pamphlet.
Committee for the Preservation of Old Town Scottsdale was created in December to fight development in Old Town Scottsdale with a petition referendum. The only available information on this PAC is the names of chairperson Janet Floyd Wilson and treasurer Dewey D. Schade.
NoDDC PAC’s most recent report for the fourth quarter of 2019, Oct. 20-Dec. 31, shows total receipts of $1,550; and disbursements of $9,882.69.
Jason Alexander is listed as the chairperson, and Beckie Holmes is listed as the treasurer of NoDDC.
Protect Your Preserve’s most recent document filed is a statement of termination, although the city’s website doesn’t show that the PAC is terminated at this time. The chairperson is listed as Jan Dolan, and treasurer is Lynne Lagarde.
Another newly filed PAC --- dated Dec. 6, 2019 --- is coined Protecting Scottsdale’s Future, with chairperson Bill Crawford and treasurer Carter Unger.
Mr. Unger’s company, Spring Creek Development, is behind the multiuse project in Old Town Scottsdale that PAC Preservation of Old Town Scottsdale is fighting.
The Rose to Rise PAC reports $0 worth of activity since it incorporated April 4, 2019.
The two PAC’s filed through the Secretary of State’s office, identified by searching the keyword “Scottsdale” are: Scottsdale Democratic Luncheon Club and Scottsdale Firefighters.
The state has hundreds of PAC’s registered through the secretary’s website --- without intimately looking at each PAC or knowing the name you’re looking for, it is difficult to pinpoint any other committees to Scottsdale specifically.