WV Clean Elections Legislative Update by Julie Archer

March 4, 2005

Movement Expected on 527 Legislation

Next week we anticipate movement on proposed legislation to reign in 527 groups, as the bill is taken up in the Senate Judiciary Commitee. Recommended during interims by the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform, SB 245 would 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. Dubbed the "anti-Don Blankenship bill" by the Charleston Gazette, the legislation 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.

This legislation is complementary to establishing a system of voter-owned, publicly-financed elections because such a system is likely to have more appeal to candidates if they aren't faced with the looming threat that they might be targeted by such independent groups. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. We look for support of this legislation to break down along party lines, as Republicans are likely to dismiss Democrats motivations as just "sour grapes" over the outcome of the Supreme Court race.

Voter-Owned Elections

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