The prospects for bipartisan campaign finance reform — or really any significant campaign finance reform — in Washington are pretty much non-existent. But it’s a much more hopeful story in the states, where even some Republicans are backing efforts to reduce the influence of big money in politics and give ordinary Americans a greater voice.
ReThink Democracy, an arm of ReThink Media, laid out the details in a Medium post
published Wednesday. Among them:
– New Mexico passed a bipartisan bill requiring that independent expenditure groups disclose their backers — even as national-level conservatives fight disclosure requirements.
– Ohio’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bill to increase online reporting requirements for campaign spending — another reform Washington Republicans have blocked.
– New Hampshire’s Republican-controlled Senate passed a bipartisan bill creating disclosure requirements for independent expenditure groups.
– Two GOP leaders in Florida have introduced legislation that would increase transparency.
– And in Maine, a Republican lawmaker has cosponsored a bill to ban lobbyists from contributing to political candidates or PACs run by elected officials.
Most of these bills would have relatively modest impacts, and their passage is far from assured. But the point is that — unlike, for instance, on voting issues, the state-level GOP doesn’t march in lockstep against campaign finance reform.
That shouldn’t be surprising — reform consistently polls off the charts. Eight-four percent of respondents to a 2015 survey said there’s too much corporate money in politics, and 78 percent of respondents to a different poll that year said the Citizens United ruling should be overturned. (“I’m stunned,” one constitutional law professor said in response to that number).
The desire for change was reflected in last fall’s election, too, when voters in several states, including red ones like Missouri, Alaska, and South Dakota, approved pro-democracy ballot initiatives.
And of course, we now have a president who has pledged to “drain the…” — oh, never mind