Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/18/2000 05:00 PM 225

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 225-CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND LEGISLATIVE ETHICS                                                                                
Number 0010                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY reconvened  the  Conference Committee  on HB  225                                                              
meeting at  5:00 p.m.; this  meeting was  recessed to the  call of                                                              
the chairs  on April 14, 2000.   Members present  upon reconvening                                                              
were Representatives Croft and Harris  and Senators Donley, Miller                                                              
and Hoffman.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MILLER  moved  that  the  committee  adopt  the  proposed                                                              
committee  substitute (CS)  labeled LS0931\Z,  Kurtz, 4/15/00,  as                                                              
the working  document.   There being no  objection, version  Z was                                                              
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY noted  that the  committee  has received  limited                                                              
free powers on what is now Section  5 in version Z.  He also noted                                                              
that there  are three amendments  [in the committee packet].   Co-                                                              
Chair  Donley  informed  the  committee  that  the  committee  has                                                              
limited free powers for Sections  2, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 15 of version                                                              
Number 0154                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   HARRIS  moved  that   the  committee   adopt  the                                                              
following amendment, which was subsequently labeled Amendment 1:                                                                
     Page 3, lines 20-22:                                                                                                       
          Delete "sponsor a political party event within this                                                               
state   by paying for  advertising, food,  hall rental,  and other                                                          
actual costs associated with the event."                                                                                    
          Insert "pay for advertising, food, hall rental, and                                                               
other  actual  costs of political party annual  dinners, meetings,                                                          
conferences, and conventions."                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT expressed the  need for disclosure [of such a                                                              
contribution as  specified in Section  5 of version Z].   He asked                                                              
Ms. Miles if this already has a disclosure requirement.                                                                         
CO-CHAIR   DONLEY  indicated   that  parties   already  file   all                                                              
contributions as well as all their income and outcome.                                                                          
Number 0266                                                                                                                     
BROOKE  MILES,  Regulation  of  Lobbying,  Alaska  Public  Offices                                                              
Commission, Department  of Administration,  stated that  [the type                                                              
of  contribution  discussed  in]  Section  5 of  version  Z  would                                                              
require disclosure.  She indicated  that the commission would have                                                              
concerns   (indisc.).  Upon reviewing  Amendment 1, she  said that                                                              
the commission's  only other comment  would be that  the committee                                                              
may wish to  consider a limit on  the amount.  She  specified that                                                              
the limit  would be  $1,000 that a  group can  give to a  group or                                                              
$5,000 that  an individual can  give to a  party as those  are the                                                              
current limits.                                                                                                                 
CO-CHAIR DONLEY asked  if there was any objection  to Amendment 1.                                                              
There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                              
Number 0364                                                                                                                     
SENATOR MILLER moved  that the committee adopt  Amendment 2, which                                                              
reads as follows:                                                                                                               
     Page 3, line 21, following "paying":                                                                                   
          Insert "not more than $1,000"                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR DONLEY explained that Amendment  2 would say that the in-                                                              
kind amount  that could [be  contributed] towards the  things that                                                              
have now been  defined in Amendment 1 would be  limited to $1,000.                                                              
He guessed that the limit should be $1,000 per year.                                                                            
MS.  MILES  affirmed that  [$1,000  per  year]  would be  how  the                                                              
commission would interpret that.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS asked if that would be $1,000 per event.                                                                  
CO-CHAIR DONLEY  clarified that  it would be  $1,000 per  year per                                                              
contributor.   He reiterated  Ms. Miles  prior testimony  that the                                                              
current limitation  for individuals is  $5,000 and for  groups the                                                              
limitation is $1,000.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  surmised then that this would  place them in                                                              
the organization category.                                                                                                      
Number 0462                                                                                                                     
CHIP   WAGONER,    Republican   National   Committeeman;    Chair,                                                              
Legislative Committee,  Republican National Committee,  noted that                                                              
[the Republican National Committee]  supports this as well as full                                                              
disclosure  of  such  a  contribution.   He  explained  that  [the                                                              
Republican  National   Committee]  is   attempting  to   obtain  a                                                              
Republican  National Committee  meeting in  Alaska.  Before  there                                                              
was a  ban on  corporate funds,  there was  a Democratic  National                                                              
Committee meeting  in Alaska.   He noted  that these  meetings are                                                              
expensive to put on and most provide  participants with a bag that                                                              
includes  pads of paper,  pens, et  cetera.   In order to  provide                                                              
such bags, the  sponsors want to place advertising  on the bag and                                                              
thus  two or  three advertisers  would  be necessary  in order  to                                                              
provide  the   bags  to  the   participants  of   the  conference.                                                              
Therefore,  he  believes the  limited  language  is good,  but  he                                                              
suggested increasing [the contribution  limit of groups] to $5,000                                                              
which would  be the same as  an individual could contribute.   Mr.                                                              
Wagoner  pointed  out that  [the  language] specifies  that  these                                                              
contributions would  go towards the  actual costs  associated with                                                              
the event; no money  is going to the candidate or  to the advocacy                                                              
of an election nor is money going  towards the defeat of anyone or                                                              
anything.  This  was done in Wyoming, a state that  also has a ban                                                              
on corporate contributions.  The  State of Wyoming was able to put                                                              
on  the  Western  States  Leadership   Conference.    Furthermore,                                                              
Wyoming didn't  place a  limitation in their  statute.  Of  the 15                                                              
western states,  Alaska is one of  two states that has  never been                                                              
able   to  host   the   Western  States   Leadership   Conference.                                                              
Therefore, he reiterated support  of this limited exception to the                                                              
corporate ban  and he would  suggest increasing [the  contribution                                                              
limit] to $5,000.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  asked Co-Chair  Donley  why  he chose  the                                                              
$1,000 limit.                                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DONLEY explained that he  choose the $1,000 limit because                                                              
that is the maximum  that groups can contribute to  the party now,                                                              
and furthermore it is the traditional  amount that individuals can                                                              
contribute to  candidates.  This  amount is also the  maximum that                                                              
political action  committees (PACs) can contribute  to candidates.                                                              
He acknowledged that the $5,000 limitation  also exists in statute                                                              
in regard to contributions to the party from individuals.                                                                       
MR.  WAGONER  suggested  that  a  compromise  could  be  to  allow                                                              
[contributions]  of  $1,000 for  in-state  events  and $5,000  for                                                              
interstate events.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that he liked the $1,000 limit.                                                                      
CO-CHAIR DONLEY commented that he  believes HB 225 is turning into                                                              
a fair piece of  legislation to which the $1,000  limit would be a                                                              
reasonable amount that also falls  within the existing scheme.  He                                                              
asked if there was  any objection to Amendment 2.   There being no                                                              
objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY   directed  the  committee's  attention   to  the                                                              
remaining   amendment,   which    would   specify   that   in-kind                                                              
contributions from  attorneys and  accountants could also  be made                                                              
to candidates or groups in addition to parties.                                                                                 
Number 0750                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   HARRIS  offered   Amendment   3  for   discussion                                                              
purposes.  Amendment 3 reads as follows:                                                                                        
     Page 8, line 17, following "provided to a":                                                                            
          Insert "candidate, group, or"                                                                                     
SENATOR  MILLER   objected.    He   explained  that   although  he                                                              
originally  argued for  political parties,  he noted  that he  has                                                              
some  [sympathy] for  groups.   He  believes  that many  arguments                                                              
could  be   posed  for  political   parties  versus   [groups  and                                                              
candidates].   He also believes  that inserting other  things runs                                                              
counter to public  opinion and the political reality  that exists.                                                              
It is much more defendable to keep political parties.                                                                           
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY agreed  and related  his belief  that there  is a                                                              
legitimate difference between a political  party and candidates or                                                              
specific interest groups.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRIS  withdrew  Amendment  3.   There  being  no                                                              
objection, Amendment 3 was withdrawn.                                                                                           
Number 0851                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT asked if  there would  be any disclosure  of                                                              
the  amount of  the professional  legal [services].   He  believes                                                              
that it makes sense  not to cap it, however it  may make sense for                                                              
[the public]  to know how  much is given.   He asked Ms.  Miles if                                                              
there  would be  any  disclosure of  the  amount of  [professional                                                              
legal  or accounting]  services  given  to  the party  under  sub-                                                              
subparagraph (iv) of Section 5.                                                                                                 
MS. MILES replied that the commission's  stand is that there would                                                              
be no  disclosure of the  professional services that  are provided                                                              
free  to the  party.   However,  under sub-subparagraph  (v)  mass                                                              
mailings  would be  disclosed  as an  expenditure  on the  party's                                                              
regular report,  although that mass  mailing may not  be disclosed                                                              
as  a contribution  [on the  candidate's report].   She  specified                                                              
that sub-subparagraph  (iv) would have no disclosure  and thus the                                                              
public wouldn't  know which attorneys  are contributing  [to which                                                              
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY asked  if Ms.  Miles  had any  language for  that                                                              
provision that the committee could  review if the committee wanted                                                              
to [require] disclosure.                                                                                                        
Number 0928                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  indicated that there could  be references to                                                              
the  disclosure   statutes.    He   explained  that   he  believes                                                              
[disclosure of  these professional legal and  accounting services]                                                              
is important for the public to know.   He pointed out that some of                                                              
the other categories  such as those listed  under sub-subparagraph                                                              
(i)  and (iii)  can't  be  estimated.   However  the  professional                                                              
services   that  are  provided   [can  be   estimated]  as   these                                                              
professionals are accustomed to accounting  for their services and                                                              
thus  it would  not  be so  onerous to  provide  a normal  billing                                                              
without placing a cap.                                                                                                          
SENATOR  MILLER  remarked  that  he  didn't  believe  that  to  be                                                              
CO-CHAIR DONLEY indicated  agreement and related that  it would be                                                              
appropriate to place  the burden on the party to  report this.  He                                                              
agreed with Representative  Croft that [this disclosure]  could be                                                              
achieved  simply  [with reference  to  disclosure  that occurs  in                                                              
another  section].    Furthermore,  [Section  5]  is  one  of  the                                                              
sections for which the committee  obtained limited free powers and                                                              
thus could do what is being discussed.                                                                                          
SENATOR  HOFFMAN inquired  as  to  the time  frame  that is  being                                                              
contemplated; would this be reported in an annual report?                                                                       
MS.  MILES  pointed  out that  parties  file  campaign  disclosure                                                              
reports on  the same schedule as  candidates.  She  indicated that                                                              
if  this  disclosure  were  considered   part  of  the  disclosure                                                              
permitted with unlimited amounts,  that would go far in protecting                                                              
the public's right to know.                                                                                                     
Number 1020                                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR  DONLEY  suggested  that  the committee  could  say  that                                                              
conceptually it  wanted to add language  to the effect  "that this                                                              
shall  be disclosed  by a  party  in the  same way  as they  would                                                              
disclose a monetary contribution."   In that case, all the regular                                                              
reporting   periods   would  be   captured.      He  agreed   with                                                              
Representative  Croft  that this  is  only  in reference  to  sub-                                                              
subparagraph (iv)  of Section 5.   This suggestion  was determined                                                              
to be  a motion  to which  there was  no objection  and thus  this                                                              
conceptual notion will be incorporated into a new CS.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT stated that  only Sections  1 and  13 remain                                                              
Number 1080                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  moved that  the committee delete  Sections 1                                                              
and 13.                                                                                                                         
SENATOR HOFFMAN  inquired as  to what happened  with Section  6 in                                                              
version Z.                                                                                                                      
CO-CHAIR DONLEY  explained that  everything was eliminated  except                                                              
the   thank  you  [advertisements]  and  the deleted  portion  was                                                              
transferred  to a new  separate section  on public office  expense                                                              
term accounts (POET).   Before there was a  multi-purpose section,                                                              
which was confusing.                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE CROFT  specified that  the [POET accounts]  are now                                                              
found in  Section 8 on page  6.  Representative Croft  returned to                                                              
his motion to delete Sections 1 and  13 and informed the committee                                                              
that he reviewed the statutes of  both sections, which are general                                                              
authority  sections.     There  could  be  a   more  comprehensive                                                              
[section]  that discusses  the different  interests served  by the                                                              
campaign laws;  however, he  expressed concern  that there  is not                                                              
enough time  to do so now.   Representative Croft noted  that both                                                              
sections emphasize  that the  burden is on  "us", which  he didn't                                                              
believe should  be the  dominant  [factor].  He  preferred leaving                                                              
it as the  ordinary interpretation  of the statutes.   He referred                                                              
to  Section  13  which in  part  says,  "...shall  interpret  this                                                              
chapter ...  that is  no more  restrictive of  the actions  of the                                                              
legislators  than is  necessary  to implement  the  intent of  the                                                              
CO-CHAIR DONLEY  commented that [the  commission] should  be doing                                                              
it in that manner now.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  CROFT said  that there  a many  ways in which  one                                                              
could interpret  this such as a  interpreting it in a  manner that                                                              
maximizes  public disclosure  or that  keeps elections  fair.   He                                                              
reiterated his  preference to leaving  the interpretation  of this                                                              
to the normal method.                                                                                                           
CO-CHAIR DONLEY announced that this is a close call.                                                                            
SENATOR  HOFFMAN   informed  the  committee  that   he  liked  the                                                              
SENATOR MILLER  commented that  he didn't have  much of  a problem                                                              
with the  language.  He further  commented that the  committee has                                                              
come a long way in creating a fair  piece of legislation that both                                                              
bodies could  agree on  as well as  correcting some problems  that                                                              
have  existed.    Therefore,  he   indicated  that  [not  deleting                                                              
Sections  1  and  13]  is  not  worth  killing  this  legislation.                                                              
Senator Miller  stated that  he didn't have  any objection  to the                                                              
deletion of Sections 1 and 13.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE HARRIS agreed.                                                                                                   
CO-CHAIR DONLEY noted that he is  sympathetic to Senator Hoffman's                                                              
concerns,  however he  too believes  that the  bill now  addresses                                                              
many  issues  that needed  to  be  fixed, including  bringing  the                                                              
statutes into compliance with the court decision.                                                                               
SENATOR HOFFMAN indicated  that he was okay [with  the deletion of                                                              
Sections 1 and 13].                                                                                                             
CO-CHAIR DONLEY announced that there  being no objection, Sections                                                              
1 and 13 would be deleted.                                                                                                      
SENATOR MILLER suggested, to which  the committee agreed, that the                                                              
committee meet tomorrow in order to review the new CS.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects