W.Va. expected to see nation’s strongest campaign finance reform bill in January
By Jessica Farrish THE REGISTER-HERALD
MINDEN, WV – A candidate for West Virginia House of Delegates is pledging to support the strictest campaign finance legislation in the nation, and more than 50 other candidates in Mountain State races have pledged their support, too.
The bill, which a group of legislators are expected to introduce in Charleston in January, aims to break the “cycle of legalized corruption” in U.S. government that was identified in a 2014 study by researchers from Princeton University and Northwestern University, which found that from 2009 to 2014, the 200 most politically active companies in the U.S. spent $5.8 billion influencing the government with lobbying and campaign contributions.
Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment, the study found.
Selina Vickers, who is running for the District 32 seat, has pledged not to accept any corporate money. On Thursday, she and other candidates met with residents in Minden, a contaminated Fayette County neighborhood where a large number of residents report cancers, to pledge support for campaign finance reform.
The bill is part of West Virginia Can’t Wait, which aims to win a “people’s government” in West Virginia.
Standing with a mountain silhouetted in the background and a burned-out lot and flood-damaged home behind her, Vickers said that, if elected, she wants to pass the “end of buying elections” in the state.
“We have elected representatives that are so arrogant and smug that they won’t even meet with their constituents,” she said. “They won’t take time to listen to them, either during their legislative session, or when they come home.
“But, they’re fine with meeting with people who agree with them and who give them the large campaign contributions.
“What about everyone else?”
Under the “West Virginia Can’t Wait to End the Buying of Elections” plan, lobbyists would be charged a fee. The fee would fund public elections in all state races, and out-of-state lobbyists would pay the “lion’s share.” …