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URGENT: Please contact Governor Crist to VETO House Bill 1207

Help Stop "Pay to Play" in Florida

The Florida Legislature has passed a bill creating new campaign fundraising accounts called "Leadership Funds" ....it's time to act! CALL OR EMAIL Governor Crist as soon as possible!

The LWVF believes that the methods of financing political campaigns should ensure the public's right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, enable candidates to compete more equitably for public office and allow maximum citizen participation in the political process.*

BACKGROUND: Almost daily we read new reports of campaign financing abuses and how does the Florida legislature respond? It rushes to pass House Bill 1207 creating new campaign fundraising accounts for legislative leaders. If this bill becomes law, the leaders of the legislature will be able to solicit unlimited amounts of campaign money from those with an interest in manipulating public policy. Do you want public policy decided based on who makes the largest contribution to a "leadership fund?"

House Bill 1207 does contain good provisions that would restore some regulation and reporting requirements for so-called 527 committees. However, The League of Women Voters of Florida opposes House Bill 1207 because of the provisions in the bill that would create and legitimize a new avenue for campaign fundraising by legislative leaders. In the bill they are called Affiliated Party Committees, but they are really "Leadership Funds." And there are good reasons why "Leadership Funds" are currently banned by state law.

The legislature recognized over 20 years ago that "Leadership Funds" have a bad effect on the legislative process. What lobbyist can turn down a direct solicitation by a legislative leader who has the power to decide if their bill will be heard? The League believes that legitimizing "Leadership Funds" encourages the pay-to-play nature of the legislative process.

"Leadership Funds" are also used as a tool to lock down control of the members in each chamber who are dependent on receiving campaign funds from their leader. Right now, under legislative rules, lawmaker controlled committees must post contributions and expenditures within 10 days. If these new "Leadership Funds" are allowed then reporting will be quarterly and it will be even less transparent then it is now. Rather than legitimize "leadership funds," the legislature should close the loopholes in campaign finance law that allow this practice to continue despite the existing ban.

Please call or e-mail Governor Charlie Crist as soon as possible and ask him to VETO House Bill 1207!

Contact information:

E-mail Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Phone: (850) 488-7146


LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF FLORIDA

540 Beverly Court
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
Email:  lwvf1@comcast.net
Fax: (850) 222-4485
Telephone:  (850) 224-2545

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