Colorado lawmakers want disclosure of campaign donations
April 27, 2010
DENVER (AP) – Hoping to avoid a bidding war for votes in November, Colorado lawmakers introduced a measure Monday that would require businesses and unions to disclose major campaign donations.
Lawmakers acted because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that businesses and unions should be allowed to spend unlimited amounts to produce and run their own campaign ads.
In an advisory opinion, the Colorado Supreme Court said that conflicts with Amendment 27 that voters approved in 2002 to ban such contributions.
Sen. Morgan Carroll, a Democrat from Aurora, said businesses spent $1.9 billion and labor unions shelled out $74 million in total contributions nationwide in 2008 under current laws. Carroll says that will pale in comparison if unlimited contributions are allowed.
“We may be moving more to one dollar, one vote instead of one person, one vote,” Carroll said.
The bill would require businesses and unions to disclose contributions and donors over $1,000 during an election cycle. It would only apply to state campaigns, including races for governor, attorney general or the legislature. It would not apply to federal races, including Congress, which is trying to come up with its own rules.
Carroll said the new legislation would not put limits on donations, but she believes public exposure will at least let voters know who is behind them.
House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, said he couldn’t comment because he didn’t see the legislation before it was introduced.
Republicans see overturning the contribution limits as a potential game-changer in an important election year which they believe will level the playing field on political contributions from core constituents.