I wanted to follow up with you on the House vote of SB 661, the “Political Class Protection Act” The bill passed with a 56-52 vote with some changes and now goes back to the Senate (The one five minute or less action item)
The good news is that caucus primary spending was stripped.
However, the not so good news is:
1. The bill would still double the maximum amount that an individual or independent political action committee (PAC) can donate to a political candidate.
2. And it would still shield groups that run “issue ads” from disclosing their donors. No transparency
3. Almost ALL House GOP voted yes. It’s still about the $$$$ and transparency be damned because it might benefit me.
Oh they did throw a transparency-bone by adding that groups who run election-season ads to include an “authorized by” disclaimer “BY MEANS OF RADIO, TELEVISION, MASS MAILING, OR PRERECORDED TELEPHONE MESSAGE.”
The ONLY GOP House members to vote NO were:
Rep. Gail Haines (termed limited)
This would make a good direct donation list.
Also a good question to ask new 2014 candidates for office, “How would you have voted on SB661 and why?”
SB661 passed the Senate the first time by only two votes so its worth a shot. Regardless, THEY need to hear from us on this bill.
So please give your Senator a call and ask him or her to vote NO on SB661
The protest comments in the House Journal of the NO voters (*below) sums up the very good reasons why these Reps. voted NO.
YOUR Senator should hear them.
*Rep. Howrylak,(R) having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:
“Mr. Speaker and members of the House:
“I voted no on SB 661 because there should not be an increase in the contribution limits to campaigns from political action committees (PACs) and independent political committees (IPCs). There is a strong public policy objective to reduce the influence that special interests have in campaigns. If we increase the individual limitations but keep PAC and IPC contribution limits stable, this objective will be met.”
You know its bad bill when you agree with a Liberal Democrat! :-O Rep. Schor, (D) having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement: “Mr. Speaker and members of the House:
“I oppose this bill because it puts more money in politics and prevents disclosure of donors for attack ads during election time.
The US Supreme Court has said that this is constitutional and disclosure does not impede free speech. The US Supreme Court in the 1970’s said that issue ads are protected as first amendment free speech as long as someone isn’t asked to vote for or against that candidate. This has been overturned in more recent decisions, though, including in the Citizens United case where the Court said requiring disclosure of issue ads that are electioneering is constitutional. This amendment follows the US Supreme Court’s ruling that requiring disclosure for these electioneering issue ads does not impede free speech.”
Rep. Schor is referring to is Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is aUS constitutional lawcase, in which the United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions.
CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
No. 08-205. Argued March 24, 2009–Reargued September 9, 2009–Decided January 21, 2010
3. BCRA §§201 and 311 are valid as applied to the ads for Hillary and to the movie itself. Pp. 50-57.
(a) Disclaimer and disclosure requirements may burden the ability to speak, but they “impose no ceiling on campaign-related activities,” Buckley, 424 U. S., at 64, or ” ‘ “prevent anyone from speaking,”
Rep. McBroom,(R) having reserved the right to explain his protest against the passage of the bill, made the following statement:
Mr. Speaker and members of the House:
“I am adamantly opposed to the passage of this legislation. There are several reasons I feel that this bill is poorly thought out and counter productive. Primarily, there is no need for increased campaign contributions and there is a need for greater transparency and accountability in issue advocacy.
While the argument is proffered saying that we should keep up with inflation and that the buying power of campaign funds has decreased in the last 35 years I believe this is an inane and ridiculous argument. The truth is campaigns have continued to spend greater amounts of dollars despite lessened value of each dollar. Raising contribution limits will only create an ‘arms race’ where both sides will raise even more money and campaigns will only get more expensive. We are doubling limits- do we really believe that we need to double the costs of a campaign?
Next, the frequent reporting of finances in off years is a ridiculous burden on all of us, especially those of us whose busy spouses manage the funds! If I had great deal of activity going on in the off years, perhaps there could be a triggering amount, there may be some justification but otherwise it is completely unnecessary. Those filings are used almost entirely for the parties, along with the press, to watch their own and each others’ members for the purposes of general nosiness and to exert either influence or discouragement of further fundraising activities.
This whole discussion receives the unfortunate and misguided label of simply a furtherance of free speech. How can the increase of artificial caps on contributions be increasing of free speech? Unless the cap is removed entirely to prove that insinuation I do not accept that there is more speech by simply having an higher cap. It also implies that those without dollars somehow have less free speech. Is that what we really believe?
Lastly, and most egregious, is the provision restricting the reporting of those who participate in blatant, obvious, and even obnoxious electioneering under the guise of ‘issue advocacy.’ This, too, is promoted as a free speech issue. However, there is always a cost to speech, especially political speech….
The ability to hide behind a mask of anonymity leads to speech that is vile, corrupting, falsely inflamed, and unaccountable. This is the great bane of the internet, talk radio, and many anonymous newspaper letters.
We should stand against this destruction of civil conversation and debate in our state. Those who wish to play in the political arena must be willing to pay that price for free speech. If putting their name on an ad against the governor is too much risk for them, considering he may win, then they should keep their opinions to themselves. Is there a place for anonymous speech? Yes, but in very select circumstances. Certainly not when the commercial or flyer is clearly and even blatantly promoting a vote for or against a candidate or issue but stops just short of asking the viewer or listener to actually vote for or against that person or issue.
We should turn down these bills and vote for real accountability in elections.
We should not continue to fool ourselves into believing we are promoting free speech. We are promoting more money, less accountability, less civil discourse, and, ultimately, more of the same in what we already have in politics and elections- and who is asking for that?”
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.”