Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Alaskans Demand Reform . . . Again

As Timothy Inklebarger of the Juneau Empire reports, Alaskans qualified an initiative for the 2006 ballot which would restore contribution limits to their pre-2003 levels.

In 2003, the Alaska Legislature raised the contribution limits despite the lack of a public mandate to do so. It wasn't the first time. In 1996, Alaskans qualified another ballot initiative to lower contribution limits, but the Legislature kept the measure off the ballot by a passing a law similar to the initiative passed by citizens, although the Legislature's version raised the contribution limits. It is unclear whether the Legislature will try a similar move this time, although the Speaker-elect of the House says he has no intention of doing so.

Under the new ballot initiative, the amount individuals can give to candidates decreases from $1,000 back to $500; the amount they can donate to political parties from $10,000 back to $5,000; and the amount political action committees can donate from $2,000 back to $1,000. Political parties will only be able to donate $1,000 to candidates, compared to the $4,000 now allowed.

This is an excellent example of the accountability that the ballot initiative process allows citizens to demand of their elected representatives.

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