Campaign Disclosure Bill Called ‘Knee Jerk’

By Dave Donaldson

A bill requiring disclosure of corporations or unions that contribute to political campaigns got a chilly reception in the House Judiciary Committee today   as Chairman Jay Ramras challenged elements of the bill concerning presentation of sponsors to the public.

The measure arose as a result of a U-S Supreme Court  decision allowing such contributions.   Alaska is one of twenty-four states reacting to it.

Bob Lynn,  Chairman of the State Affairs Committee was responsible for writing the bill. He recognized that there will be opposition to it, and asked the Judiciary committee to think beyond what the Supreme Court did.

The bill is not about the decision itself, whether you agree with it, don’t agree with it,  think it’s a good ruling or a bad ruling.   That’s not the point. The bill is about letting constituents throughout the state know who makes expenditures in corporations and unions.  In other words,  it’s a disclosure bill.

However, Chairman Ramras said he has problems in dealing with the bill so quickly after the Supreme Court decision.

I’m concerned we have this knee-jerk reaction to this whole ruling.  I don’t like knee-jerk legislation, and it feels like that’s what we’re doing.

Lynn reminded Ramras that the subject was about the elective process – not about advertisements selling automobiles.

I don’t think we’re having a knee-jerk reaction trying to protect the voters here so they know who is making these expenditures for or against a candidate,  for or against an initiative.  We need to know that kind of thing.   And knee-jerk is a pejorative.

Ramras ended the meeting without taking up any amendments,  simply saying he was setting the bill aside — with no mention of future action.


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