Welcome to Pay Dirt—exclusive reporting and research from The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay on corruption, campaign finance, and influence-peddling in the nation’s capital. For Beast Inside members only.
In the days before Phoenix residents went to the polls to select the city’s new mayor last week, an obscure political group took out ads on social media and in Arizona’s largest newspaper hyping the soft-on-crime record of the race’s eventual winner.
The attack line was fairly typical, even if it elicited disavowals from the defeated candidate, Democrat Daniel Valenzuela. But the group behind it, an obscure dark-money outfit funded by a leading tobacco company, has no apparent ties to Arizona, or interest in its capital’s governance.