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Steve Blackledge,
U.S. PIRG

Opponent of campaign finance reform moves to neuter legislation

For Immediate Release

Seattle – Rep. David Taylor (R-Moxie) has introduced three amendments that would neuter legislation to increase campaign finance disclosure requirements currently under consideration before the state House of Representatives.

“The Taylor amendments basically say that we should leave campaign finance disclosure in this state exactly the way it is instead of strengthening it, which takes some ‘moxie,’” said Steve Breaux, public interest advocate at 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 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 out of the Senate, 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. “If Rep. Taylor doesn’t like the idea of strengthening campaign finance disclosure laws, he should just stand up and say so instead of wasting the taxpayers’ time and money on procedural stunts like these amendments.”

“I think it takes real moxie – pun intended – to release these amendments today hoping no one will notice,” Breaux said, noting that the amendments were dropped just hours before the House releases the much anticipated budget. “He can try to hide stuff like this all he wants, but we’re tracking this bill to ensure that everyone who tries to kill campaign finance disclosure gets called out.”

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