03 March 2010

Campaign Finance in West Virginia

The Associated Press takes a closer look at the pair of campaign finance-related measures that emerged from the House of Delegates this week.

The article pays particular attention to the bill that "would require corporations based in West Virginia to disclose to shareholders what they spend on campaigns" and that "a majority of shareholders voting to accept such spending."

While advocated by such groups as the Brennan Center for Justice, the proposal "is uncharted territory not only for West Virginia but nationally," AP reports.

The largely party-line House votes reflect GOP-led concerns about the constitutionality of both that measure and its companion, which addresses independent ad spending. The bill aimed at corporations also appears unworkable to some critics.

"There are so many loopholes in this bill that they render it ineffective and utterly useless," Delegate John Ellem, R-Wood and minority chair of House Judiciary, is quoted as saying during the floor debate.

Gov. Joe Manchin supports the bills' general concepts, a spokesman told AP, while Senate Judiciary Chairman Jeff Kessler expects to throw his support behind at least one of the measures.

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