House committee to rework campaign finance bill

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- A campaign finance bill was pulled off the House floor Thursday so it can be reworked to reflect a U.S. District Court decision that the state must allow unlimited contributions to political parties.

Senate Bill 103 had passed the Senate and was ready for a vote in the House, when Speaker Brian Porter reassigned it to the Rules Committee.

Rules Chairman Pete Kott, R-Anchorage, said the committee will rewrite the bill to conform to U.S. District Judge James Singleton's decision, signed Tuesday.

Singleton ruled that Alaska's $5,000 limit on contributions to a political party violates rights of speech and association guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

Individual Alaskans can give as much time and money as they want to political parties or groups, as long as no more than $5,000 of the contribution is earmarked to help get candidates elected, Singleton said.

Singleton also threw out limits on how much time a person may volunteer to a political party.

Kott said the committee will rewrite the bill next week.

The bill would change campaign finance laws to allow legislators and their staff to use state resources to support or oppose ballot questions that are constitutional amendments.

The bill also exempts polls from being considered campaign contributions as long as they're limited to issues and do not mention a candidate.

And it would let attorneys and accountants volunteer their time to political parties or candidates without regard to contribution limits and reporting requirements.

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