Senators vote for accepting more campaign money
The state Senate has amended a House campaign finance bill to double the campaign cash that individual donors, special interest political action committees and political parties can give senators during their four-year terms, reports the Times-Free Press.
The bill (HB16) began as a House GOP effort to let representatives and senators create a loophole in the state’s long-standing in-session ban on fundraising and sought to let members raise political money during veto-override sessions.
But in committee, senators added a provision allowing their contribution limits to reset every two years, instead of every four years as the law has long directed.
Sen. Ken Yager, chairman of the Senate State and Local Government Committee who handled the bill on the floor, said in response to Yarbro’s questions that the issue was “parity” (with members of the House, whose limits are already reset every two years).
With Yarbro noting that the bill would effectively raise the total caps on all PAC money from the current $236,200 in a four-year campaign cycle to $472,400 and political party money from $126,000 per cycle to $252,000, Yager referred other questions to Sen. Steve Southerland, R-Morristown.
Southerland offered the justification that senators have three times the residents in their districts as House members.