Pro-Stanton group mum on who paid for ads vs. Gullett

by Lynh Bui – Oct. 23, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

Educate Phoenix, a pro-Greg Stanton political-action committee, won’t reveal who is paying for television attack ads against Wes Gullett.

Adam Lopez Falk, chairman of Educate Phoenix, said the group isn’t associated with the Stanton campaign, but “fears retribution” if it were to reveal the individuals financially backing the group’s efforts.

Educate Phoenix has been running attack ads claiming Gullett is lobbying government for a $100 million arts tax, which is not true. Educate Phoenix is listed at the end of the ad, but notes that a non-profit called Phoenix Citizens United is the major financial backer.

Phoenix Citizens United is a new group that filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission on Sept. 13, but names of individuals bankrolling its efforts have not been disclosed.

Falk, a member of the Alhambra Elementary School District governing board, said they’re simply “education advocates who wanted to come together and support the person who is right for mayor of Phoenix.”

“We don’t think Gullett has an education plan for the city,” Falk said. “We’re afraid of Gullett’s lobbyist connections and they all want to remain anonymous.”

Similar campaign groups have come out in support of Gullett, including Arizona Citizens United, an independent expenditure organization that has spent more than $100,000 support his bid for mayor.

Arizona Citizens United spokesmen have also said they want to remain anonymous for “fear of retribution.”

Falk, however, wouldn’t comment on whether it was appropriate for Arizona Citizens United to hide its donors in a similar fashion that Educate Phoenix or Phoenix Citizens United is doing.

Gullett’s campaign has said it doesn’t disagree with any group’s First Amendment right to influence the election, whether it’s Arizona Citizens United or Education Phoenix. But the group shouldn’t perpetuate lies and mislead the public, said Gullett’s business partner Steve Roman.

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