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Campaign Finance Bill Debated in Vermont Senate Committee

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A Vermont Senate Committee on Tuesday delayed a vote  on a bill to tighten the state’s campaign finance laws.

The U.S. Supreme Court in 2006 struck down Vermont’s campaign finance laws.  Since then, Vermont officials have struggled to craft legislation that can survive court review. A bill currently before the Senate Government Operations Committee would require stepped-up disclosure and set new campaign contribution limits.  Middlebury College Associate Professor of Political Science Bert Johnson.

The committee recently adjusted the contribution levels in the proposal up to $5,000 for statewide candidates, $2,000 for Senate candidates and $1,000 for House candidates.  Vermont Public Interest Research Group Executive Director Paul Burns says those amounts are too high.

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos notes that the limits being proposed are higher than what was originally proposed, but are still less than allowed under current law. Condos says the committee’s goal is to create a campaign finance bill that can pass legal challenges.

Vermont Democratic Party Spokesman Ryan Emerson agrees that the entire bill should not be rejected due to one objection.

The chair of the Vermont Senate Government Operations Committee was in session and unavailable for comment in time for this broadcast.

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