League in favor of legislation to reform campaign finance in DC

Letter from the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia.

June 10. 2016

Dear Council Chair Mendelson and Councilmember McDuffie:

The League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia has been very concerned about the apparent effects of “pay-to-play” on decisions made by the DC Council over the years.  Last fall our luncheon speakers focused on Money in Politics, and League members heard about the ongoing issues that connect campaign contributions with contract awards.  Earlier in 2016 our League members participated in a national League of Women Voters study on Money in Politics and concluded that we must take action to stem the devastating effects of big money in campaign financing.

We believe those practices erode our democratic processes.  We would like to see a ban on “dark money” and regulations that assure full and open disclosure.

We are encouraged to see that Attorney General Racine transmitted the “Campaign Finance Transparency and Accountability Amendment Act of 2016” to the Council. Further, we were pleased to see that Council Chair Mendelson introduced the legislation as B21-0622. We think the proposed provisions will go a long way to shine a light on “dark money” and close Political Action Committee loopholes, as they would prevent developers, corporations and their principals from doing business with the District for two years if they have contributed to the campaign of an elected official.

 We understand that the bill has been forwarded to the Judiciary Committee.  We urge that Hearings be held on this proposed legislation promptly now that budget sessions are over, and we hope the Council will move with alacrity to improve the transparency and accountability in our campaign finance process.

Sincerely,

Linda Beebe, President

League of Women Voters, District of Columbia