State Weighs In On Federal Campaign Spending Law

By Paige Browning

Certain state lawmakers think the U.S. Supreme Court got more than they bargained for when they ruled that corporations can donate to campaigns limitlessly.
A state senate committee heard testimony Tuesday about why they should ask Congress to erase the Citizens United decision from the Constitution.  The House has already passed the measure, with 30 representatives as the measures sponsors.
Democratic State Senator Adam Kline of Seattle says as a lawyer he normally does not disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kline: “But I think they failed, I think they made a significant error here.  And it’s not an error in some innocuous law that governs 18 people; this unfortunately goes to the Foundation of democracy.”
Three citizens followed Kline’s lead and spoke in support of the resolution. 
Government Operations Committee Chair, Senator Pam Roach, was the hearing’s only voice of opposition. She referenced the state’s first campaign finance law passed in 1992, and says limiting campaign contributions created the need for political action committees.
Roach: “You can’t un-ring this bell is what I’m trying to suggest to you.  We had it one way, we passed 134, it suppressed the amount of money that was going to be spent, that money apparently was going to be spent anyways so it oozed out over here and was spent in the form of independent expenditures.”

So far, Senator Roach has not scheduled a vote on the issue.  Next Tuesday is the committee’s last hearing of the session.  Political and activist groups like Spokane Moves to Amend the Constitution, WashPIRG, and Public Citizen are also urging lawmakers to pass the measure.
If Washington passed the resolution, it would be the 12th state to request that Congress place campaign spending limits on corporations.
Copyright 2013 Spokane Public Radio

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