Monday, April 16, 2007


Kansas: Campaign Finance Disclosure Weakened

Kansas' already pathetically weak campaign finance disclosure laws have been weakened further according to Dion Lefler of the Wichita Eagle:
At the end of the regular session earlier this month, lawmakers had passed five provisions on campaign disclosure and government ethics -- one benefiting voters and four relaxing restrictions on politicians and state employees.
The state received a grade of F from the Campaign Disclosure Project, a collaboration of the UCLA School of Law, the Center for Governmental Studies, and the California Voter Foundation, supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Their study reported:
Access to campaign finance data in Kansas is still well below average, and there is much room for improvement in this area. Because the Governmental Ethics Commission currently data-enters filings, it takes up to two months for that information to be made available on the Internet, though the agency reports it plans to scan and post filings within two days in 2006. Itemized expenditure data is currently not available on the web site at all. While several other states actually decreased the cost of paper copies of campaign finance
reports this year, the Secretary of State’s office continues to charge a relatively high 50 cents per page for such copies.

And, as Red State Rabble has reported, the failure to make disclosure reporting available to the public has real world consequences. Right-wing political action committees such as the Kansas Republican Assembly, Free Academic Inquiry and Research, and the Kansas Republican Victory Fund have thumbed their noses at contribution limits by setting up a network of interlocking state and federal PACs -- a slush fund, in effect -- to get around contribution limits in the law.


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