On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a major campaign finance overhaul bill (SB 539) that would decrease disclosure of political spending while also increasing the amount of money that can be given to the candidates, political action committees (PACs), and political parties.
Please contact your Senators and tell them to oppose SB 539.
SB 539 would require less disclosure for spending on independent expenditures by raising the thresholds that trigger reporting and disclosure of contributors to groups making these expenditures. The bill also reduces the burden of collecting and reporting occupation and employer information about contributors. In addition to weakening some of our current disclosure requirements, the bill also creates new loopholes and worsens existing ones that make it possible for groups that spend money on political ads to hide the identity of their donors.
Unfortunately, the committee rejected an amendment offered by Senators Mike Romano (D-Harrison) and Mike Woefel (D-Cabell) that would have required disclosure of ‘dark money’ by closing the “covered transfers” loophole, which currently allows wealthy donors and special interests to funnel money through multiple PACs and organizations in order to obscure its origin.
The bill not only fails to address the flood of secret money in our elections, it also significantly increases campaign contribution limits, allowing more money into an already broken system. If we want to discourage negative attack ads, give candidates the ability to respond, and inform voters about who’s trying to influence their votes the best thing we can do is require those who are spending money on our elections to disclose to the source of the money.
Please contact your Senators and tell them to oppose SB 539. We need more disclosure in our elections, NOT more money!