Inside Opinion

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Tag: campaign finance reform


Super PACs ratcheting up heat in 2012 campaign

This editorial appears in Friday’s print edition.

Mix unlimited campaign donations with the very weakest pinch of disclosure. Throw into an overheated primary season and what happens?

One need only look at all the attack ads in Iowa and New Hampshire paid for by the so-called super PACs supporting Republican candidates – groups with such names as Restore Our Future (Mitt Romney), Winning Our Future (Newt Gingrich) and the Revolution PAC (Ron Paul). Waiting in the wings: The already well-larded Priorities USA Action super PAC supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election and the prospect of super PACs trying to influence congressional races as well. Read more »


Campaign rulings in line with U.S. Supreme Court thinking

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Campaign-finance rulings by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week are good news for proponents of disclosure, bad news for those concerned about the influence of big money in elections.

Both are, however, in line with recent decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court has been supportive of campaign disclosure  – most recently in a Washington state case. Gay-rights opponents sought to keep secret the names of those who signed petitions for Referendum 71, a ballot measure that would have overturned domestic partnerships. But the high court said the state law requiring disclosure was constitutional.
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Putting the brakes on costly city races

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

What’s perhaps most remarkable about Senate Bill 6344 is how unremarkable its passage was.

Four years ago, a similar measure to extend campaign contribution limits to certain judicial, county and port offices nearly died under the weight of amendments added by purportedly well-meaning lawmakers.

One of the proposed amendments would have made candidates for city office subject to the same campaign finance limits. It was considered a surefire way to garner more no votes.

Neither that amendment nor others stuck, and the 2006 legislation survived. It put limits on races for Pierce County and Port of Tacoma positions, as well as judicial races ranging from the state Supreme Court to local superior courts.

Perhaps the wrangling back then wore lawmakers down. Perhaps politicians discovered that checking wealthy donors’ ability to bankroll political campaigns might make candidates work harder, but doesn’t keep them from getting elected.

Whatever the reason, when supporters of campaign finance reform returned to Olympia this year to extend the state’s contribution limits once again, lawmakers didn’t put up much of a fight.

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