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D.C. Campaign Finance Reforms Get Initial Approval

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A bill that would stop the practice of bundling is being considered by the D.C. Council.
Mallory Noe-Payne/WAMU
A bill that would stop the practice of bundling is being considered by the D.C. Council.

After several scandals, the D.C. Council gave initial approval to a package of sweeping reforms this week aimed at fixing the city s campaign finance laws.

The bill's author, council member Kenyon McDuffie, says the hallmark of the legislation is closing the LLC loophole. This is when developers and other businesses make multiple contributions to an individual candidate through LLCs or limited liability companies.

The practice is legal, but as many critics point out, and as WAMU explored in its "Deals for Developers" series, it potentially allows a donor to exceed contribution limits.

Council Member David Grosso is a strong supporter of the bill. Speaking at this week's legislative session,  he said no one should be able to give 10 or 20 times as much money as a regular citizen.

"The absurd results are obvious when you see $10,000 from ten donations coming from one address in Bethesda," Grosso said. "These types of contributions are unacceptable."

The bill would try to end this practice. Other changes include more transparency for lobbyists who often bundle donations, stricter penalties and online reporting requirements for campaigns.

The second and final vote on the bill will take place in two weeks.

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