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Seattle – After rejecting a slew of amendments that would have gutted the intentions of legislation to strengthen state campaign finance disclosure regulations, the House unanimously passed Senate Bill-5021 this afternoon.
Consideration of the bill began with Rep. David Taylor (R-Moxie) offering amendments that would neuter the legislation, but in the end even the “Man from Moxie” stood to say he would support the final passage of the bill.
“It takes real ‘moxie’ and questionable convictions to offer amendments that would make a bill meaningless, see those amendments fail, and then stand in favor of the bill on final passage,” said Steve Breaux, advocate with the Washington Public Interest Research Group (WashPIRG), noting that Taylor is from the eastern Washington town that shares its name with the political consulting firm that caused a campaign finance scandal during the 2010 election.
Senate Bill-5021, sponsored by Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-Vancouver), is seen by many as a reaction to campaign finance disclosure loopholes by Moxie Media in the 2010 re-election campaign of Sen. Jean Berkey, since most of its provisions directly address conduct by Moxie Media that are currently under investigation by the Attorney General.
As passed, SB-5012 states that no two political action committees (PACs) may have the same name, and no person or group can sponsor more than one PAC for the same office or ballot measure in an election year. It also limits monetary transfers from one PAC to another to committees that can show they have received 10 contributions of $10 or more from 10 registered voters in the state.
“The bill has already been weakened considerably since it was first introduced by Sen. Pridemore at the beginning of the Legislature, but it still addresses some serious problems in our current system,” said Breaux, who testifies in both Senate and House committees on behalf of WashPIRG. “Although it is now a much less rigorous bill, we’re glad to see even these modest revisions of campaign finance disclosure laws.”
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