January 9, 2014
For Immediate Release
Campaign Finance Reform-Passage of S.82 an act relating to campaign finance law
MONTPELIER – House Minority Leader, Rep. Don Turner (R-Milton) had this to say following the House vote to ratify the committee of conference report on S.82 An act relating to campaign finance law. “We believe that Vermonters have the right to know who is financially supporting candidates in Vermont elections and that Vermont needed more transparency, accountability, and modernization in its campaign finance/reporting system. Although not perfect or as restrictive as we would have liked, the passage of this bill moves Vermont in a positive direction. I am proud that Vermont lawmakers have been able to find a way to work together in a non-partisan manner to improve a process that the courts have previously acknowledged is broken.”
Last session House Republicans held a news conference on January 17, 2013 to open the conversation on campaign finance reform. Concerned by some of the campaign finance issues that had surfaced in the 2012 election cycle, it was announced that Tom Koch R-Barre and Kurt Wright R-Burlington would be proposing bills H.104 and H.319 respectively to address some of these issues. Caught off guard, the Democrat supermajority promptly tabled the discussion by placing these bills on the wall to die and announced that the Senate would lead the discussion on campaign finance reform. Several of the ideas proposed in H.104 and H.319 have been included in S.82. The result is a better law than previously existed no matter who takes credit for the work.
“The new contribution limits are better than not having any limits at all” stated Mark Higley R-Lowell who worked diligently on behalf of the caucus on this bill.
“I wanted to require all campaign reports to be submitted frequently and online. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not having internet access or for filing your finance reports in a timely manner online. A candidate who chooses not to use the internet can find a campaign treasurer who does” added Rep Tom Koch Barre.
“My goal was to craft a bill that requires greater transparency for Super PAC’s and other organizations, without causing a court case that we are likely to lose. Super PAC’s are here for the foreseeable future so let’s ensure that we have super transparency, even though in my opinion it does not go far enough, the bill does move us in the right direction.” stated Rep Kurt Wright Burlington.
Our goal was to work with the Secretary of State, the administration and other members of the legislature in a non-partisan manner to make filing reports easier for candidates, the information more valuable for those interested in reviewing it, and most importantly transparent for Vermonters.