Advocates from both sides of the argument discuss HCR 2007 which eliminates the Clean Elections Commission’s independent authority and passes it to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council.
Over the summer the Clean Elections Commission extended and passed several rules that stirred some controversy. It allowed public funds from inside the system to be given to state political parties and non-profit organizations, President and Executive Director of Free Enterprise Club Scot Mussi says. Over $100,000 was given to the Democratic Party alone in 2016.
“That raised concerned,” Mussi says. “The parties themselves could potentially be putting candidates in noncompetitive districts on the ballot to then give the money back to the party where they can then go use that money in contested races. The impetus of it would be to prohibit that practice of money going to political parties.”
Director of Clean Elections Commission Tom Collins says they investigated those allegations and found the claims to be untrue. He says the commission is more concerned about the section of the bill that gives authority over the Clean Elections Act to the Governors’s Regulatory Review Council.
“Also, there’s a provision of the bill that in effect freezes the clean funding amount at current levels and sets them to not keep up with inflation,” Collins says. “That will disincentivize folks to run clean, not take PAC money, and break the link between corruption and political favor. From my perspective and the commission’s perspective, we’re ready to say let’s cut and make a deal to pass the provisions that address Scot’s concerns.”
Mussi says the commission had their chance to prevent over the summer when the issue was brought up in 2016. Now, it’s not going to be a decision made by the legislature but by the voters.
If HCR 2007 passes, then the Free Enterprise Club will become a deciding factor on how the program operates.