Friday, September 24, 2004

Signature Drive Successful for Alaska Initiative to Restore Lower Contribution Limits

Although you couldn't guess it from the lead paragraph of AP reporter Matt Volz' article in the Anchorage Daily News, supporters of campaign finance reform won a victory for campaign finance reform in Alaska this week. A group of reformers led by the Alaska Public Interest Research Group turned in 13,000 signatures more than the required 23,000 to successfully qualify for the 2006 ballot an initiative which would cut Alaska's contribution limits in half.

In 1996, in response to another successful signature-gathering campaign, the Alaska Legislature passed several reforms, among which was setting contribution limits at $500 for an individual to a candidate or political committee. In 2003, the legislature doubled those limits, although no demonstrable public pressure to do so existed.

The recent initiative, entitled Campaign Finance Reform Again, would restore contribution limits to the 1996 level.

The initiative process may seem a little sloppy at times, especially so when big money interests hijack the process. The Alaska initiative is a nice reminder that despite the possible shortcomings of the process, it offers many benefits as well.

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