The Phoenix mayor and city council races are well funded with cash from corporations and nonprofits and several committees have been formed to support various candidates. This is the first election cycle in Phoenix in which corporations, labor organizations, and nonprofits can spend money from their general treasuries on political campaigns. The spending follows a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that lifted corporate election spending, saying that political free speech trumps concerns that money from special interests would corrupt elections.

Ballard Spahr partner Joe Kanefield, a former Arizona elections director, said the contributions from independent expenditure committees are legal but still controversial. “The main question that will always be raised is if the expenditure is truly independent and acting without coordination of a candidate. Secondly, there will be the question of whether the money is truly a legitimate contribution from an organization to a political committee rather than a ‘pass through’ for anyone else.”