Liberal Texas Billionaires Pour Thousands Into Utah Redistricting Campaign Liberal Texas Billionaires Pour Thousands Into Utah Redistricting Campaign – NTK Network

Liberal Texas Billionaires Pour Thousands Into Utah Redistricting Campaign

Laura and John Arnold backed efforts to raise taxes on soda and fund research for anti-gun initiatives. Now they’re joining Democrats’ efforts to change the rules on redistricting.

By NTK Staff | 07.30.2018 @3:15pm
Liberal Texas Billionaires Pour Thousands Into Utah Redistricting Campaign

A new report by KSL.com reveals that out-of-state donors are contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to an effort that would give Democrats in Utah outsized influence on redistricting after the 2020 census.

The Action Now Initiative, an arm of liberal billionaires Laura and John Arnold’s sprawling web of non-profits, PACs, and other various organizations, gave $355,000 to a group called Better Boundaries, an initiative that would force the state legislature to vote on political district lines drawn by a new commission.

This isn’t the first foray into state affairs for the Arnold’s Action Now Initiative. The liberals backed soda taxes in other states and “gun violence” research, as well.

The single biggest contributor, Action Now Initiative, is a nonprofit advocacy organization that works with a foundation started by billionaire hedge fund manager John Arnold and his wife, Laura, to support a wide variety of causes.

Their money has helped efforts to raise taxes on soda in Colorado, California and Pennsylvania, pass ranked-choice voting initiatives in Maine, and secure pension reforms, with former Utah state Sen. Dan Liljenquist as a consultant.

Now the Arnolds, who recently pledged $20 million over five years for research into gun violence and are pushing for federal government involvement, are contributing to Better Boundaries.

According to KSL.com, the Arnolds approached Better Boundaries about funding their efforts. That could be cause for concern, according to one political analyst, who warned about out-of-state interest groups hijacking state issues:

Jason Perry, director of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, said initiative backers generally need to worry about “making sure it’s not hijacked by some outside political interest.”

Perry said the public should pay attention to the financial support initiatives receive, asking “where’s it coming from and what is their intention, to make sure a local issue stays local.”

The Better Boundaries initiative would create a seven-member commission that would make a recommendation on redistricting to the state legislature. While not bound by the commission’s recommendation, the legislature would be forced to vote on the commission’s findings.

While Republicans have dominated state politics in Utah for some time, this initiative would attempt to wrest some control from Republicans in order to give Democrats outsized influence on drawing district lines.

The initiative will be up for a vote on the November ballot, along with referenda to legalize marijuana and expand Medicaid.

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