Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tennessee Looks to Set High Limits on Gifts to Parties and PACs

this is an audio post - click to play

As Matt Gouras of the AP reports, House Majority Leader Kim McMillan wants to limit an individual donations to a state party to $25,000 and cap donations to a PAC at $5,000 per person. The House Elections Subcommittee recently unanimously endorsed the bills which would set those limits.

Last year, King Pharmaceuticals CEO John Gregory and his family gave some $800,000 to legislative candidates and the political action committees that supported them. Gregory was also the lone contributor to a political action committee that exceeded the contribution limits on donations to a candidate by a single contributor. (Gregory's attempts to influence politics are not limited to Tennessee -- he also gave $250,000 to Virginia Gubernatorial candidate Jerry Kilgore.)

McMillan's inclination is right, but her bill still sets limits at a level unreachable by 99% of the population, which means Gregory and a few other rich folks will still have greater say in Tennessee government than the vast majority of the population combined. Setting limits at a level most people can afford would allow all Tennesseeans an equal shot at influencing the makeup of their government.

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