Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jim Boyd-led committee OKs raising campaign contribution limits

The Florida House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, on Monday gave the first approval to a measure that would raise to $10,000 the limit on contribution to Florida election candidates and abolish controversial political slush funds.

However, the final version of the legislation -- and the prognosis for adoption -- are far from certain.

The Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports:

A House plan to eliminate controversial political slush funds and raise campaign contribution limits to $10,000 passed its first committee stop on a bipartisan vote Monday. 
But the top priority of House Speaker Will Weatherford faces a fight. Senate critics and ethics watchdogs warn that the bill will create new loopholes, allowing political parties to control big checks with little accountability, concentrate power in the hands of incumbents and make the system less democratic. 
Those criticisms did not dissuade the House Ethics and Elections Subcommittee on Monday, however, which passed HB 569 on a 10-2 vote. Democratic Reps. Katie Edwards of Plantation and Mike Clelland of Lake Mary joined Republicans who predicted the bill will result in "dramatic change." Clelland defeated Rep. Chris Dorworth, a Republican designated to become House speaker in 2014, after Dorworth's used his political committee for personal expenses. 
"The bill is simple. It takes Florida's election process and makes it one of the most transparent in the nation, and it does so by protecting everyone's free speech,'' said Rep. Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, the sponsor of the measure. 
The bill eliminates the controversial Committees of Continuous Existence, the political committees that can collect unlimited funds but can't spend on campaigns. They have become the method of choice for legislators to pay for meals, travel and entertainment to get around the legislature's strict gift ban. 
The House proposal also raises limits on campaign contributions to $10,000 from the current $500, a level Weatherford has called "archaic." The measure also allows the party to contribute as much as $10,000 to a candidate's committee, up from the current $500, and allows candidates to keep as much as $100,000 in unspent money for the next campaign for the same office. 
In exchange for the higher finance limits, candidates for state offices would be required to file weekly campaign finance reports after they qualify for office and, during the last 10 days of the general election cycle, would be required to provide 24-hour reporting.
Read the rest here

And read the proposed legislation approved by Boyd's committee, here..

1 comment:

  1. This is a bad bill. Raising the cap on campaign contributions to $10,000 is an incumbent protection maneuver and will only benefit the interests of big money corporations. This would be the end of citizen legislators.
    I urge you to ask the legislature to kill this bill.