CAG Action Alert

Tell the State Election Commission to Support Transparency, Hold Politicians Accountable

West Virginia Citizen Action Group
West Virginia
Citizen Action Group
Jul 2, 2019 View / Comment Online

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Earlier this year, legislators passed SB 622, a bill that is disastrous for those of us who want elections where candidates listen to the voices of everyday people, not wealthy donors and special interests. Right now, the State Election Commission is writing rules on how the new law will be implemented and enforced.  WV Citizens for Clean Elections has looked at the rules, and they need to be strengthened. You can help!

Please send a letter to the Commission and ask them to hold politicians accountable by strengthening the rules in these ways:

  1. Clarify that the rules apply to non-partisan elections, including judicial elections.
  2. Expand the definition of “political purposes” beyond express advocacy. Under the proposed definition electioneering communications (ads that don’t directly say to vote for or against a candidate) wouldn’t be considered political activity.
  3. Expand the types of conduct that amount to coordination with a candidate, such as a third party’s re-publication of a candidate’s campaign materials, and include coordinated electioneering communications in the definition of coordinated expenditure.
  4. Specify requirements for establishing firewalls to prohibit the flow of information between a candidate’s campaign and outside groups supporting that candidate’s election.
  5. Clarify which candidates and political committees are required to file reports electronically as well as who reports are filed with.
  6. Specify when the list of candidates and other entities filing late reports will be published.
  7. Clarify that joint fundraising agreements and reports filed by joint fundraising committees will be made publicly available and accessible online.

Sadly, this new law further unbalances our politics. It is NOT for regular West Virginians. Only 124 (less than 0.0001% of) people in West Virginia gave the maximum contribution to a candidate in the 2018 election. These are the only people who will benefit from the new, higher contribution limits in SB 622. They get more power over our politics at the expense of everyone else in West Virginia.

We want elections where candidates listen to the voices of everyday people – not wealthy donors and special interests. We also want to know who is trying to influence our representatives and their votes with their big money donations. However, the trade-off of allowing more big money into our elections in exchange for increased transparency is a false one that does nothing to address the flood of secret money in our elections.

We need to close loopholes in our laws that allow groups that spend money on political ads to hide the identity of their donors — loopholes that remain open under SB 622.

Contact the State Election Commission today and ask them to support increased transparency of political spending and urge the legislature to bring real disclosure to the dark money spending in our elections.

Please send your letter by 5PM, Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Thank you for taking action!

 
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1 Comment

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  1. Wrote the following:

    I am a West Virginia voter who recycles all campaign materials. With little factual material, I mostly do not read them. SB 622 is a venal permit for more bribery.

    We must have elections where candidates listen to the voices of everyday people – not wealthy donors and corporations. We also want to know who is trying to influence our representatives and their votes with big money donations. Unfortunately, the increased contribution limits in SB 622 only benefit the wealthiest few at the expense of everyone else in West Virginia. SB 622 does nothing to address the flood of secret money in our elections.

    We need to close loopholes in our laws that allow groups who spend money on political ads to hide the identity of their donors — loopholes that, unbelievably, remain open under SB 622. You MUST absolutely demand increased transparency of political spending and urge the Legislature to require those who are spending money on our elections to disclose the source of the money.

    In addition to requesting the Legislature to bring real disclosure to the dark money spending in our elections, I also urge you to hold politicians accountable by strengthening the proposed rules governing SB 622 in the following ways:

    1. Clarify that the rules apply to non-partisan elections, including judicial elections.
    2. Expand the definition of “political purposes” beyond express advocacy. Under the proposed definition electioneering communications (ads that don’t directly say to vote for or against a candidate) won’t be considered political activity.
    3. Expand the types of conduct that amount to coordination with a candidate, such as a third party’s re-publication of a candidate’s campaign materials, and include coordinated electioneering communications in the definition of coordinated expenditure.
    4. Specify requirements for establishing firewalls to prohibit the flow of information between a candidate’s campaign and outside groups supporting that candidate’s election.
    5. Clarify which candidates and political committees are required to file reports electronically as well as who reports are filed with.
    6. Specify when the list of late files will be published.
    7. Clarify that joint fundraising agreements and reports filed by joint fundraising committees will be made publicly available and accessible online.

    I expect that you are an organization to maintain the public trust and vote as mandated.

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