Monday, March 14, 2005


Republicans Fight Ethics Reform

This is not too surprising. It seems the Republicans are not too keen on Gregory money being limited. Well, we the voters are and we support HB1090 & HB1098. Also, HB248 is a good idea too. Below is an excerpt from (Gregory funded) Tre Hargett's March 10, 2005 Capitol Hill Week in Review.

Ethics bills hotly debated...

Republicans questioned one House Democrat on HB1090, which imposes limitations on personal contributions to state political parties or caucuses of such political parties. After the members of the House Committee on State and Local Government successfully amended the bill, HB1090 sets contribution limits at $50,000 per individual per calendar year.

Republicans questioned the premise of the bill, asking the sponsor whether the logic behind limiting personal contributions in order to lessen the influence of wealthy individuals on the political system should also apply to groups organized around a candidate or an issue. Such a situation arose when former Vice President Al Gore gave $700,000 to the Tennessee Democratic Party. The sponsor replied that the logic did not apply and revealed that HB1090 targets a specific incident during the 2004 election cycle when a dedicated Republican donated sizeable amounts to Republicans. After a strictly partisan vote, HB1090 passed through the committee and will be heard on the floor for further discussion next week.

Legislators will continue to look at a host of ethics bills this session and Republicans will remain committed to ensuring the political freedoms of each citizen by carefully considering and advancing bills that preserve Tennesseans’ rights to support a candidate of choice. Republicans voted against HB1098 this week during a State and Local Government Committee meeting. The bill, argued Republicans, infringes upon rights of free speech by placing a stringent cap on the amount that a person can contribute to a political campaign committee and multi-candidate campaign committee.

Republicans also defended a bill this week in the House Elections Subcommittee that provides for an additional campaign financial disclosure prior to the start of early voting. After lengthy discussion on the need to promote openness, the sponsor agreed to bring the bill before the committee next week so that further discussion could occur.

One final ethics-related bill addressed legislator conduct not related to campaigns. HB248 came before the House State Subcommittee on Tuesday for a second time to address the use of General Assembly license plates. In light of recent media reports alleging abuse of the plates, the Republican sponsor intended to simply define which family members could be eligible to receive a plate. Instead, in a seemingly political move by Democrats, the bill was amended twice to finally reflect a complete ban on the use of the plates by legislators and their family members. The bill moved through the subcommittee as amended and will be heard in the House Committee on State and Local Government next week.

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