Murkowski co-sponsors donor disclosure legislation

WASHINGTON — Two senators hope to require political groups to name the donors who spend millions of dollars to influence federal campaigns.

Legislation sponsored by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska would require so-called super PACs to reveal their sources of money, just as federal candidates must do.

Outside groups spent $1 billion in efforts to help or attack various candidates in the 2012 elections. Some individuals gave $1 million or more.

These independent groups generally do not have to identify their donors. Critics say major influences on elections should be more transparent.

“Where there’s significant campaign spending, everyone has to play by the same rules,” Wyden said in a statement. Voters “deserve to know where the money is coming from and where it’s going,” he said.

Murkowski said many Republicans, Democrats and independents “were concerned over the role of big money and secret donors in the last election.”

Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited funds to help candidates, but cannot coordinate expenditures or strategy with a campaign.

The emergence of super PACs and other outside groups, emboldened partly by the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010, has done more than anything else to reshape the contours of campaign fundraising.

A few federal court cases have broadly eased campaign finance rules, allowing donors to give unlimited sums. That kind of money largely has gone to super PACs.

Many super PACs have affiliated nonprofit “social welfare” organizations that spent hundreds of millions last year on issue ads. Those groups don’t have to disclose their donors because they’re governed by tax law.

Open-government groups have pushed Congress, to no avail, for a law that would require politically active groups to disclose their finances.

Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Boston contributed to this report.

More

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 22:17

Some question value of Kenai sockeye optimum escapement goal

There’s one thing that people at the Board of Fisheries agreed on on Sunday — the escapement goal management for the Kenai River late-run sockeye... Read more

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 23:47

Three seek assembly appointment to replace Homdahl

The eastern Kenai Peninsula will have a new representative on the nine-member Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly after assembly members choose from three applicants to replace... Read more

Public battles over drift fishing corridors at fish board

To be or not to be is the question for the Upper Cook Inlet drift gillnet fishing corridor.

Read more