Initiative 1464 and Campaign Finance

Voters in Washington State will decide on the campaign finance rules in their state in November. The new rules are packaged in the Initiative 1464. Supporters of this action perceive this as the required step to slash big money donor influence in state politics. Opponents see the measure as a counter-productive one and an expensive misuse of scant state resources.

Opponents

Opponents of the Initiative 1464 are worried that the proposed increase in taxes will pay for the publicly funded campaign and the amount will be inadequate for the purpose. The result will be that the general fund of the state will be tapped to top up the balance. Yvette Ollada, the spokesperson for the No on Initiative 1464, said that money needed for actual productive state functions like schools will be spent in elections. She said that money should be better used and not the funding of political campaigns. It must be mentioned that Ollada has also worked for Bill Bryant, the Republican gubernatorial candidate. The latter has also opposed the I-1464. Jay Inslee, the Democratic Governor, has still not stated his position. A poll in August has revealed the Initiative as leading. However, 40 percent of the respondents continue to remain undecided.

Well-funded pro-group

It is ironical that a lot of money is being spent to reduce big money influence in politics. More than $2 million has flowed into the coffers of Integrity Washington. Its expenditure was also a commensurate $1.9 million. The money went mostly on the collection of signatures so that the ballot can be taken. Although Initiative has excess of 1,000 individual donors, a majority of them are from outside Washington State. Huge amounts have been poured in by billionaires. The list of donors to the campaign includes Connie Ballmer, the spouse of Steve Ballmer, the ex-Microsoft CEO and the owner of Los Angeles Clippers. She donated $500,000. Sean Eldridge, husband of Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, also donated $275,000. This group has also received a total of $675,000 from Every Voice and Represent.US, two national non-profits.

The opposition, in contrast, is poorly funded. The No on Initiative 1464 gathered only $20,000. Only two donors gave money: Associated General Contractors of Washington and Washington Food Industry Association.

The Initiative’s most striking feature is its public funding system. According to the system, every registered voter in Washington State will get three vouchers of $50. They will state their chosen legislative candidates. If a candidate wants to accept vouchers, he or she must get 75 donations of a minimum of $10. Donations above $500 will not be accepted.

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