On Tuesday, the Senate passed a major campaign finance overhaul bill that would allow even more big money into a system that already favors the wealthy and special interests. SB 622 increases campaign contribution limits from $1,000 to $2,800 for candidates, to $5,000 for PACs, and to $10,000 per year for party committees.
Ordinary working West Virginians don’t have that kind of money to donate to campaigns, so the overall effect of the bill would be disastrous for voters who struggle to have their voices heard above the special interests that try buy our elections.
SB 622 increases disclosure in some small ways, like requiring PACs and entities making independent expenditures to file reports electronically, but completely fails to address the flood of secret money in our elections.
We need more transparency of political spending in our elections, not more money.
Under current law, even though the spending itself is often disclosed, the money is frequently funneled through multiple PACs and organizations in order to obscure its true origin. The Legislature should increase transparency of political spending by closing these loopholes that make it possible for groups that spend money on political advertising to hide the identity of their donors.
More transparency will discourage negative attack ads, give candidates the ability to respond, and inform voters about who’s trying to influence our votes.
We deserve to know who is trying to influence our votes and our elected representatives, not be kept in the dark.
It’s time to put an end to big money funneled through groups with secret donors.