February 19, 2009

Clean Elections Update  

Dear friends,

Our WV Public Campaign Financing Act has been introduced in the Senate (S241), and we expect it to be introduced in the House in the next day or so. Del. Dan Poling is a new sponsor, along with our sponsors from last year, Delegates Doyle (lead sponsor), Marshall, Hatfield, Brown, Moore, Perdue, Fleischauer, Klempa, Ellem, and Lane.

Julie Archer met with House Judiciary Chair Carrie Webster on Monday this week, and discussed several items. We have been working with Delegate Webster to find out more precisely how much money the 10% surcharge on civil and criminal penalties over $1000 would generate for the program. She has sent a letter to Cabinet Secretaries asking for information from each of their agencies with regard to the amount of penalties collected. Delegate Webster plans to put the bill into a subcommittee in Judiciary, which will be looking at several election-related pieces of legislation. The Secretary of State's Office is working on an updated fiscal note, as they seem to think the administrative costs will not be as great as those estimated in last year's fiscal note. So that is all good news!

Last week, Julie and I had a conversation with Angela Miggaly from the Brennan Center, during which she made a number of very useful suggestions about our legislation. One intriguing concept is a "hybrid" model that does not use trigger mechanisms based on a non-participating candidate's expenditures as the way of determining additional increments of public financing. Instead, the candidate who finds a need for more than the initial grant can continue to raise small contributions (up to $100) which are then matched by the state at a pre-determined rate. This also has the advantage of eliminating the extra reporting for non-participating candidates - which was never popular with them! Our colleagues at the Brennan Center think this may be a legally safer option for public financing programs in light of the recent Supreme Court decision on the "millionaire's amendment." They will send us the language they are developing for legislation and we will certainly share that option with the subcommittee.

And don't forget - the deadline for submissions for the video contest is February 28. Thanks again to Jeremy Brannon for doing such a great job on the information and advertising!

We'd really appreciate your sharing this information with your organizational constituencies and including it in legislative updates or newsletters you might be sending out. And don't forget to call your Delegates and ask them to support the WV Public Campaign Financing Act!

Thanks so much for all your help!

Carol Warren
WV Citizens for Clean Elections


Voter-Owned Elections

Citizens for Clean Elections P.O. Box 6753 Huntington, WV 25773-6753 304-522-0246