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Shawn Vestal: Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart takes a shot at slowing dark-money politics

December 10, 2017

"“My concern is that it creates a new bureaucracy in City Hall that really is a duplication of what the state already does,” said Michael Cathcart, the executive director of Better Spokane, a pro-business nonprofit that used its PAC to campaign heavily against incumbent Councilman Breean Beggs in the past election.Cathcart said he also fears the legislation might actually drive more money into the dark by capping individual contributions at $500 per election, which is half the current level. Someone who wanted to contribute more might instead direct that toward independent expenditures – the realm of unlimited spending and less accountability." 

 

...Better Spokane also has a political action committee; the donors to that committee are reported to the state. Walt and Karen Worthy contributed $25,000; the Wolff Co., a private equity firm, contributed $20,000; Irv Zakheim, chairman and CEO of Zak Designs, gave $10,000. The committee goes on to list big donations from several other pro-business associations.

 

All told, the Better Spokane PAC raised more than $100,000, spending a lot of it on negative ads aimed at challenger Andy Dunau’s opponent, incumbent Breean Beggs.

 

About a fifth of the Better Spokane PAC’s money came from Better Spokane – the nonprofit, not the PAC – and donors to that group do not have to be publicly reported.The proposed ordinance would require the Better Spokane nonprofit to report its top 10 donors.Cathcart said that one concern for groups like his is that some donors may want to contribute to Better Spokane’s general purpose – pro-business “education” – and not its politics.

 

That distinction may not seem so sharp, but even it is, supporters of the reforms argue, groups like Better Spokane can just separate the fund-raising and spending of the two functions.Cathcart said he’s concerned the legislation would help incumbents, PACs and unions, while hurting challengers.""

 

Read the entire column:

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/dec/10/shawn-vestal-spokane-council-president-ben-stuckar/

 

 

 

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