March 02, 2005
Bill to limit campaign contributions submitted

Campaign finance bill Number Two has been filed.

Mega-money donors are usurping the power of the people of Texas to control their government, two Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday as they filed a bill that would limit the amount of money individuals can donate to political causes.

"These individuals giving above $100,000 make up a disproportionate share of contributions that are coming into state elections," said Rep. Mike Villarreal, D-San Antonio, who co-wrote the bill with Rep. Mark Strama, D-Austin.

The proposed legislation would allow individuals to donate no more than a total of $100,000 in a two-year election cycle to political action committees, candidates for state office and political parties. Currently, there is no limit on the amount a person can donate to Texas political causes.

Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston and vice chairman of the House elections committee, said limiting contributions protects incumbents.

During the 2004 election cycle, 69 donors gave a total of $26 million, according to Texans for Public Justice. The group said the 69 donors made up 20 percent of all individual political contributions.

Capping contributions at $100,000 would have taken more than $19 million out of the 2004 election cycle, according to the group.

Is Rep. Bohac's assertion really true? I can't find a report of donors and who they gave to - you can find individuals here, but unless you know who to look for, it's not very much use - but it certainly doesn't feel true to me that the biggest donors would be looking to oust incumbents rather than care for and feed them. Sure would have been nice if whoever wrote that story did a little digging to see if Bohac's claim holds any water or not.

Anyway. This was another of the items on Clean Up Texas Politics' list from the seminar I attended. Nice to see that Rep. Mark Strama is one of the sponsors, though that probably just means this bill is doomed. Still, this is what he campaigned on, and it'll be good experience for the next time. It's a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 02, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack