Reform heads to campaign committee financing groups

JEFFERSON CITY — Past attempts to reform campaign donation limitations have actually increased the money flow, Sen. Tim Green (D-St. Louis County) said.

Green said when he ran for state representative, he was limited for individual donations of $300 for the primary and $600 for the general election.

In the senate race, the individual donation limit to his candidate committee was $600 for both primary and general election.

Attempts made to curtail campaign spending have redirected money from candidate campaigns to political party committees and continuing committees.

These committees raise the money, and in turn, are able to donate 10 times what a private individual could donate to the candidate.

Political party committees and continuing committees can also do independent expenditures on behalf of the candidate, Green said.

Green testified there was not a good reporting system in place to allow the public cannot see who is contributing money to the election of a certain candidate.

A substitute for Senate Bill 201 was offered to put give political party committees and continuing committees the same donation limit as individuals.

“This bill will in turn allow the public to know what special interest groups are supporting which candidates,” Green said.

Figures from the last election cycle show contributions and loans for state-wide candidates at $12 million for republicans and $16 million for democrats.

Senate candidate committee’s raised $3 million for republicans and $2.4 million for democrats.

A significantly larger amount went to political party committees ($29 million) and continuing committees ($31 million).

“I prefer to help system work, “Sen. Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) said, “[I prefer] anybody can give whatever they want as long as [the candidate] discloses within 24 to 48 hours.”

With the proposed changes, the money is still going to come, Engler said. Its just going around the bend one more time, creating more confusion on who is actually giving money.