Legislature(1999 - 2000)

2000-07-14 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2000-07-14                     House Journal                      Page 3869
HB 225                                                                       
The following letter, dated May 25, 2000, was received:                        
"Dear Speaker Porter:                                                          
Under the authority of art. II, sec. 15 of the Alaska Constitution, I have     
vetoed the following bill:                                                     
CONFERENCE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 225                                          
"An Act relating to election campaigns and legislative ethics; and            
providing for an effective date."                                              
In December 1995, sponsors of a campaign finance reform initiative             
submitted petitions with valid signatures of 22,764 Alaska voters, more        
than enough to place their proposed law on the 1996 general election           
ballot.  The Legislature, under the threat of this citizen initiative,         
responded by passing a campaign finance bill in 1996 that significantly        
curbed the effect of big money donors on Alaska campaigns.  Only               
two legislators voted against the bill.  Lt. Governor Ulmer ruled that         
the Legislature's bill was "substantially similar" to the citizen initiative,  
which eliminated the necessity of placing it on the ballot.                    
This campaign finance reform measure is widely supported by                    
Alaskans and our state proudly leads the nation in curtailing the role         
of large campaign contributions.  Now, only four years later, the              
Legislature has passed this bill which significantly reverses some             
provisions, and certainly violates the spirit, of the 1996 law and             

2000-07-14                     House Journal                      Page 3870
HB 225                                                                       
This legislation extends the period a candidate can raise money for a          
gubernatorial race or a lieutenant governor's campaign from two to             
four years.  This change increases the total amount an individual donor        
can give to these candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.  It opens the door         
once again for "soft money" contributions to political parties from            
businesses, labor unions, and other interests.  It encourages candidates       
to raise more campaign funds than they really need by boosting the             
amount of leftover funds that winners can transfer into expense                
accounts (from $20,000 to $40,000 for senators and from $10,000 to             
$16,000 for House members) for their offices.                                  
After reviewing these and other provisions of House Bill 225, it is easy       
to see why legislative opponents termed this bill the "Incumbents              
Protection Act."  There's virtually no benefit to the citizens.  There are     
significant benefits for incumbent legislators.                                
There's no evidence that Alaskans feel differently today about the             
effect of money on politics than they did in 1996.  Like voters across         
the nation, Alaskans want shorter, cheaper campaigns.  National                
polling shows the electorate is convinced most politicians are corrupted       
by large contributions, and skeptical of arguments that campaign               
finance reform threatens free speech.                                          
I agree with all of those Alaskans and their fellow Americans who are          
speaking out for campaign reform with clear voices and determination.          
I cannot and will not sign this bill simply because the Legislature            
chooses to ignore them.                                                        
							Tony Knowles