Bill could limit reuse of campaign funds
The state Campaign Spending Commission is looking at recycling.
Not garbage recycling, but politicians recycling campaign money.
Commissioners endorsed a bill yesterday that would require politicians to get permission from campaign donors if they raise money for one race and then decide to run for another office.
"If you run for the Senate or House and then win that race and have money left over, and you decide to run for governor in the next campaign, you would need to get permission to use that surplus money for another race," explained Barbara Wong, commission executive director.
Politicians would be required to write all donors for permission to use the money for another office, and if they do not get approval, the surplus funds would have to be returned.
Wong said that the proposed law came about because campaign donors are specifically supporting someone for a certain office.
"Some commissioners thought that people may support you for one race, but in another race they may not, so the money shouldn't automatically roll over," Wong said.
Senate President Colleen Hanabusa said the proposal would need a lot of work before it passes into law.
"There are questions with contribution limits and what you would do with a surplus," Hanabusa said.
Hanabusa said she was concerned about the apples-and-oranges aspects of certain contributions. For instance, money raised for a Senate race is limited to $4,000 per donor, while money raised for a governor's race is limited to $6,000 per donor.
"It think this would be a problem, and they (commissioners) will have to think through the full implementation of this," Hanabusa said.
The Campaign Spending Commission is also going to ask the Legislature to approve a bill that would increase the fines for turning in a spending report late.
In the last election, there were 350 tardy spending reports. Wong said that the current law limits fines to $50 a day. The commission wants to change that to $50 for the first week and then raise the fine to $200 a day.
The 2008 Legislature goes into session Wednesday.