Voters in four states made decisions on five campaign finance measures on state ballots this year, which is more than any year since the Institute started comprehensively tracking ballot measures in 2004. These measures presented voters with a smorgasbord of options for reforming the political process. The breadth of the topics covered by these measures show that the citizenry is not short on ideas for mediating the role of money in politics.
Read More… from Follow the Money: Campaign Finance Measures on the 2016 Ballot
The biggest problem with the campaign-finance system is also the hardest to correct: the escalating millions spent on politics behind a veil of secrecy. On its face, this should be an easy problem to fix. Why not simply require donor disclosure for all campaign activities?
The hard part is that many groups that claim to be engaging in advocacy or public education are actually making political expenditures. The courts have ruled that advocacy groups have a right to keep their donors private, lest the government tread on constitutionally protected free speech.
Read More… from Fighting over secret money
A renewed effort to give Arkansas information about so-called dark-money groups would be part of a national movement to seek disclosure about those who attempt to influence the outcomes of elections, according to the backer of the proposal and others.
A recent poll of the National Conference of State Legislatures found that 38 states are considering new disclosure laws that would require groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network to share more information about their funding and involvement in state elections.
Read More… from 38 states looking at ‘dark money’
The public could have a much clearer picture of money in politics if a bill adding open data features to the state’s electronic campaign finance system is successful. The proposal was advanced Monday the Senate Rules Committee.
The bill (HB 105), would require candidates to go online to submit information about their fundraising and spending. It would also make it easier for the public to verify information in campaign finance reports by adding cross-referencing features to the state’s electronic campaign finance reporting system.
Read More… from New Mexico campaign finance open data bill advances
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed into law on Wednesday measures that transform campaign finance rules and a government accountability board — two bills pushed by the very same conservative political groups implicated in an investigation into his campaign.
Read More… from Conservative groups helped gut Wisconsin election laws
In a push to expose the billionaires trying to influence elections, advocacy groups filed complaints Thursday against 18 television stations that aired ads for the Independence USA PAC.
Read More… from Transparency groups target Bloomberg PAC in long-shot bid to unmask donors
Lump sum payments from campaign and political action committees to consultants are blocking the public view of Texas campaign spending.
At the moment, the public is being asked to trust that these dollars have valid final destinations. That’s because they are simply reported, sometimes in six-figure amounts, as “consulting” or “consulting fees,” according to a recent San Antonio Express-News article.
Read More… from Editorial: Disclosure on lump sum payments in Texas
There’s no doubt that television commercials are the juggernauts of campaign advertising. Campaigns and super PACs will spend hundreds of millions on commercials designed to sway voters while they watch the news, The Price is Right or even football and baseball.
Read More… from As campaign ads move online, the public gets left in the dark
Wisconsin Senate Republicans would restore much of the reporting of campaign donors' employers, under changes planned to a broad campaign finance bill they will take up Friday.
Read More… from Wisconsin Senate would restore much of reporting on campaign donors’ employers
After an investigative report by The Washington Post revealed several super PACs acting in support of his campaign, Donald Trump acted swiftly, condemning the activities of the super PACs and ordering his attorneys to send cease and desist letters to several groups.
Read More… from The difference between super PACs and dark money groups