Having successfully implemented the nation's first voucher-based system for public funding of campaigns, Seattle is looking at another way to limit big money's influence on local elections.
The city's ethics and elections commission started considering legislation Tuesday that would prohibit corporations owned or operated to a significant degree by foreign entities from spending to influence municipal elections. The bill would also significantly limit how much in "independent expenditures" any business interest could direct toward local races — effectively doing away with super PACs in Seattle.
The proposal comes at a time when Congress is not paying any attention to regulating campaign finance nationwide, creating an opening for state and local governments to fill some of the void.
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Montanans advocating for political ad transparency are breathing a sigh of relief now that a federal appeals court has upheld their state's campaign disclosure mandate.
To counteract the unlimited political ad spending allowed by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, Gov. Steve Bullock pushed the requirement into law in 2015. He has ceaselessly promoted this accomplishment In his long-shot presidential campaign, citing it as evidence he's uniquely positioned in the giant Democratic field to extinguish dark money's influence in Washington.
The Montana law requires nonprofit organizations to register with the state as political committees and file disclosures if they spend $250 or more in the final two months of a campaign on advertising or mailers referring to a candidate, political party or ballot initiative. The educational and social welfare groups known as 501(c)(4)s, which usually evade disclosure requirements and are often behind dark money activity, are covered by the requirement.
Stacey Abrams, who lost her bid for the governorship of Georgia but gained national prominence in the process, is unveiling a multimillion-dollar campaign to support Democrats' voter protection efforts in next year's election.
Abrams planned to announce the initiative, called Fair Fight 2020, during her speech Tuesday at the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades convention in Las Vegas.
The effort is expected to cost between $4 million and $5 million and target 20 states, mostly battlegrounds in the Midwest and Southeast, according to news reports.