WV Clean Elections Legislative Update by Julie Archer
February 11, 2005
Clean Elections Pilot Project on Track
Last week we asked you to contact members of the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform to express your support for two proposals that would help make elections fair and clean in West Virginia. We're happy to report that the committee unanimously recommended a bill to establish a "clean elections" a pilot project. The project would provide full public financing to legislative candidates in two Senate races and three House races in single member districts, as selected by the state Elections Commission from districts where the incumbent volunteer to participate or from open seats. This voluntary, "voter-owned" system is the first step toward making this alternative source of funding available to all candidates for elected office in West Virginia.
The interim committee also recommended legislation which would make statewide and legislative elections comply with the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act or McCain-Feingold law which prohibits the use of "soft-money" in election-related communications. The bill that would require greater disclosure of contributors to 527 groups, like 'And for the Sake of the Kids,' and limit the amount an individual, political committee or political party could contribute to such groups.
Members of the Select Committee should be commended for their efforts to protect our democratic process from the undue influence of special interests and help candidates and those who want to be involved in politics to have a level playing field. If you wish to thank committee members, those present for Monday's voter are: Senators Chafin, Hunter and Oliverio; and Delegates Ennis, Caputo, Doyle, Lane, Mahan and Pethtel. Thanks to all of you who made calls and sent e-mails or letters. We couldn't have done it without you! Over the next eight weeks we'll keep you up to date as these two bills make their way through the regular session.