|Secret Money in WV Elections, What Every Voter Needs to Know
WV Citizens for Clean Elections is hosting a strategy session and messaging training, Friday, September 11, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (lunch provided) at the Affiliated Construction Trades (ACT) Foundation, 600 Leon Sullivan Way (1st floor conference room), Charleston.
We’re still developing the agenda and will back in touch with more details soon. In the meantime, we are reaching our to coalition partners to hear what they might hope to gain from our gathering.
We are fortunate enough to have with us that day a staff person from ReThink Media, who will work with us, based on our morning discussion, on potential messages that could resonate with the public regarding all the secret money going into our elections. As we did this past session, Citizens for Clean Elections plans to advocate for legislation in 2016 that provides greater disclosure of political contributions and spending in West Virginia.
We are also interested in hearing what your primary issues of concern are at this time and how they might link not only to the flood of money in politics, but also whether or not you might be involved in any current or future litigation before the courts. Fair and impartial courts are an important part of our democracy and provide essential balance to our government.
As you probably know, West Virginia’s legislature adopted non-partisan election of judges in 2015. In 2016, Justice Brent Benjamin will once again be running for his seat on the WV Supreme Court of Appeals; because of the now non-partisan election, the election cycle for the courts runs only from January until the primary in May. We were fortunate to make permanent the program that provides public financing to candidates for the WV Supreme Court, which was used successfully by Justice Allen Loughry in 2012. While that law is on the books (for now), we still do not have a permanent funding source–so that’s one of our coalition’s goals.
Although, we intend for focus to be on primarily on third party political spending and disclosure, we hope to come up with some broader “democracy” messaging that also emphasizes the importance of fair and impartial courts, the role public financing plays in protecting the impartiality of the Court and the justices on it and how decisions the courts make impact the constituencies we represent.
Additionally, we have hired an intern who is researching the independent expenditures made during the 2014 election cycle. He will be presenting his findings at our gathering and, we hope, to be exposing some of the secret money going into our elections.
We hope you or someone from your organization will be able to join us on September 11.
If you have any questions or suggestions for the agenda, please contact Natalie Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-222-2208) or myself.
Co-Coordinator, WV Citizens for Clean Elections