WAMU 88.5 : News

Campaign Finance Reform Bill Moves Forward In D.C. Council

Campaign finance reform may finally come to pass in D.C.
Larry Miller: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drmillerlg/1246397248/
Campaign finance reform may finally come to pass in D.C.

The D.C. Council is one step closer to tackling campaign finance reform.

It has been two years since attempts to clean up D.C.'s campaign finance laws were first introduced. And while there have been a handful of guilty pleas for campaign-related offenses during that time period, all of the previous attempts to overhaul the laws either stalled or were voted down.

But it appears that may soon change. Council member Kenyan McDuffie's (D-Ward 5) campaign finance reform package was approved by a D.C. Council committee and could soon head to the full Council for a vote.

While McDuffie says its not a "cure-all," the measure will tackle what he calls some "glaring holes," the biggest being the so-called LLC loophole.

This is when developers and other businesses make multiple contributions to an individual candidate through LLCs, or limited liability companies. It's legal but as many critics point out—and as WAMU 88.5 explored in its "Deals for Developers" series—it potentially allows a donor to exceed contribution limits. The bill would try to end this practice.

Other changes include more transparency for lobbyists who bundle donations, stricter penalties and online reporting requirements for campaigns.

While the bill was passed out of committee, several of McDuffie's colleagues raised questions about the measures—especially closing the LLC loophole—and the bill will need the support of a majority of Council members.

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