December 19, 2012
Clean Elections Update
WV Makes History with Election of “Clean Money” Supreme Court Candidate
Together we made history with the passage of the WV Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Pilot Project in 2010, followed by its success in this year's election. Admittedly, the pilot did not go as smoothly as we had hoped, due to a series of U.S. and State Supreme Court rulings, which struck down the program’s matching funds provision. However, despite these legal challenges, the courts affirmed the constitutionality of public financing itself, and Allen Loughry, the only candidate who participated in the program, won one of two contested seats even though he was considerably out spent by two of his three opponents. Whether or not you supported Loughry's candidacy, his positive campaign and his ultimate victory in the election is a win for public financing -- making our case that the pilot project was successful.
Citizens for Clean Election is looking forward to continuing to advance public financing of elections during the 2013 legislative session. With the legislation that established the pilot project scheduled to sunset July 1, our goal for the coming year is to make this law permanent. At the very least we want to secure an extension of the pilot project through the next Supreme Court elections in 2016. In either case, we must come up with a viable alternative to the matching fund provision, which was at issue in the previously mentioned court challenges. (That provision triggered the release of additional funds to participating candidates when outspent by non-participating opponents or independent expenditures.)
Coalition partners have already secured commitments from the Secretary of State and key legislative leaders to push for keeping the program going, but we will need your continued support to accomplish this goal. Starting now, and through the 2013 legislative session, we need supporters to contact their legislators and urge them to make the Supreme Court Public Campaign Financing Program permanent. It is essential that judges be impartial, with no possibility of influence by financial supporters. Let your representatives know that public financing of judicial elections is vital to protecting the impartiality, and the appearance of impartiality, of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
To learn more about Citizens for Clean Elections visit www.wvoter-owned.org. Contact Julie Archer at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (304) 346-5891, or Dan Taylor at
email@example.com or (304) 522-0246 to become active in the coalition’s work.