Help restore campaign finance reform law

Posted: Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Last year our Legislature overturned a campaign finance reform law. The reforms were passed in 1996 by the Legislature to avoid facing a popular citizens' initiative on the ballot. Now the Legislature has overturned this reform, which was demanded by Alaskan citizens. Through the initiative process, we can restore the campaign finance reform law.

Once again, we need over 20,000 signatures to restore this legislation. The repeal of campaign finance reform doesn't save tax dollars. It costs you. It permits special interests to double individual campaign contributions from $500 to $1,000 yearly, double group contributions from $1,000 to $2,000 yearly and double individual political party contributions from $5,000 to $10,000 yearly. How much influence were you able to purchase from your legislators?

The new regulations allow paid lobbyists to avoid reporting requirements by raising the reporting threshold for "influencing legislation" from 10 hours to 40 hours per month. Tammy Kempton, an Alaska Public Office Commission administrator stated, "The commission does not support the 40 hours (provision), and we are going to find that somewhere between difficult and impossible to enforce." Most lobbyists will not be required to report their sources of financing and are now permitted to contribute money directly to every legislator to promote "their" legislation. This act prohibited by the newly overturned law.

Doubling political contributions and permitting special-interest lobbyists to give money to legislators doesn't benefit Alaskans. It is very questionable that these new "user fees" and the repeal of the Longevity Bonus program come from the same legislative body that gives tax breaks to special interests and is one step away from taking the Permanent Fund Dividend away forever through their new market value scheme.

Help restore integrity to our Legislature. Support the initiative to restore the campaign finance reform law again.

James Price


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