Making Democracy Work
Campaign Finance & Government Ethics

Reduce the influence of special interest money, and increase transparency in government and politics.

Issue Team Chair: Kathy Sakahara, 261-7797
DOWNLOAD the Campaign Finance & Government Ethics Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Click here! 

2020 Legislative Session Expectations

(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

The big news this week is the 2020 Democracy Lobby Day in Olympia on Tuesday, January 21. The response has been overwhelming and regrettably we have needed to cut off registration because we are well over full for the day. We do plan to live stream the event from our Facebook page at link

Campaign Finance reform and Government Ethics are  always  high priorities for our advocacy work. This work is especially important because the League is one of a very few groups that focuses on these areas.

We will continue to support the revolving door bill which establishing a one-year “cooling off” period before elected officials could work as lobbyists. This will prevent legislators from negotiating new positions with private companies while still in office, lowering the potential, and for appearance of, corruption.

We are also supporting a new bill that would require any corporation making a political contribution to certify that its ownership comprises less than 50% foreign nationals. We are all aware of concerns about the undue effect of foreign interests on our elections at the national level, and this bill would be a good step in minimizing that influence.

And of course we need to ensure that the campaign finance reforms that we are pushing for can be effectively enforced. This means adequately funding the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) —the state body responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws. We now have a bill (see below) that will  allow the PDC to access monies from a fund already dedicated for its use without requiring approval from the legislature. We continue to work with the PDC to fight certain deliberately misleading political tactics.

Please continue to stay involved throughout the session. Your involvement can be anything from contacting your legislators to researching and lobbying on a bill.

Click on Bill # for detailed information. See UPDATES below.

Bills the League Supports
  • HB 1067SB 5033 Establishes a one-year “cooling off” period before high-level government officials, including elected officials can work as a lobbyist influencing state public policy. Congress and 40 states have cooling off period/revolving door laws.  UPDATE: SB 5033 was  heard in the Senate State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections Committee and is expected to be voted out of committee this Friday. HB 1067 is also expected to be voted out of the House committee.

  • SB 6361 / HB 2674 (PDC bill) Allow direct access to the public disclosure transparency funds, which by law can only be used for Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) special projects, without requiring the approval of the legislature. It also clarifies that personal financial statements of elected officials, which are currently considered public records, can be published online by the PDC. It exempts legislative staff from such disclosure. It also requires the same “ truth in advertising” as HB 2253, below.

  • HB 2253 Requires disclaimers for election advertising that encourages votes or includes endorsements for people that are not candidates in that election. We have recently seen our new, dishonest tactic used to confuse voters. Ads were run encouraging voters to write in the name of a previous candidate, showing that they had been endorsed by certain organizations. The ad did not indicate that the person had no interest in running a write in campaign and that the endorsements were from at least two years earlier.
  • SB 6512  Requires that only corporations who certify that less than 50% of its stock is owned by foreign nationals can make political contributions. Foreign nationals are not allowed to make political contributions. Citizens United said that corporations are considered “persons” with the same right of free speech as citizens. But corporations are not necessarily Association of citizens, they are often associations of some citizens and some foreign nationals Can make While we would prefer to see a smaller percentage of foreign ownership be acceptable for corporations making contributions, we think this bill is a step in the right direction. Seattle recently passed an ordinance setting the limit as a maximum of 5% foreign ownership. See this editorial by Ellen Weintraub, member of the Federal Election Commission.

    There are a number of other areas of Democracy that we are working on.  Please see ElectionsCensus & Redistrictingand Election Security 

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