Alaska Dems go against Supreme Court on spending

JUNEAU — Alaska Democratic lawmakers Wednesday proposed a move toward amending the U.S. Constitution to ban unlimited third-party spending in campaigns.

The resolution is a direct response to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and unions to give unlimited amounts to outside groups in support of or in opposition to candidates for office. The court decision gave rise to so-called super PACs, the likes of which have made a mark during the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Alaska and are having an impact on the U.S. presidential race.

The resolution, introduced in both the House and Senate, would urge the president and Congress to propose a constitutional amendment to ban such unlimited spending.

It’s a long shot — two-thirds of each the U.S. House and U.S. Senate would need to pass a proposed amendment, and three-quarters of states would have to ratify it — but Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, and lead sponsor of SJR13, said other states will take notice if the Alaska Legislature takes the first step and passes the resolution.

That in itself could be a hard road but Sen. Hollis French, D-Anchorage, said he thinks both sides — Republicans and Democrats — understand that unlimited money in campaigns is a problem.

Rep. Les Gara, D-Anchorage, and the lead sponsor on the House resolution, HJR33, said he thinks there’s an appetite in the country to take this step.

“There should be limits on what people can spend,” Gara said, adding later: “This is about giving people their democracy back and taking it back from the billionaires who are distorting the process.”

Wielechowski said money shouldn’t equal free speech.

The Legislature, in 2010, passed a measure that, among other things, required disclosure of the three top donors to an independent expenditure group.

Another Democrat-backed bill, HB244, would bar corporations from contributing to campaigns. Gara said that if states pass such legislation, it would send a strong message to the U.S. Supreme Court the next time it takes up the campaign finance issue.

More

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 06:29

State to close Eagle River Job Center

The state of Alaska is closing the Eagle River Job Center due to state budget cuts.

Read more
Tue, 03/28/2017 - 06:27

UAF says ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to Kenai salmon research offer

KENAI — The University of Alaska Fairbanks turned down an offer for funding for research on Kenai River king salmon because it would only come... Read more

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 06:25

How Medicaid expansion affects Alaskans

In the midst of a nationwide opioid abuse spike, states that chose to expand Medicaid said the program has offered critical assistance. Preventative behavioral care... Read more

Mon, 03/27/2017 - 14:55

Moderate earthquake shakes ocean floor in western Aleutians

ANCHORAGE — A moderate earthquake rumbled under the ocean floor in the western Aleutian Islands.

Read more

Around the Web

 

CONTACT US

  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING