Election day is just around the corner. I want all of you to know how much I have enjoyed meeting with you, talking with you on the phone, and responding to your emails. Thank you for your thoughtful consideration and the ideas you've had to make our state better. We need many good people engaged and informed to keep our government on track and we need to be ready to respond when problems arise. If you are not sure where to vote, please go here to look up your polling location. Also, if you would like to see who has donated to my campaign and how I spent it, use this link.
One of the more positive things to come from the whole John Swallow debacle is that it showed there are far too many loopholes in our campaign finance reporting laws. Many of those have now been closed or at least narrowed. Here are a few of the more important reforms that have taken place.
One of the more devious things that John Swallow and his campaign manager, Jason Powers did was to create a dummy corporation called "Proper Role of Government Education Association". This corporation had nothing to do with the proper role of anything, it was strictly a legal contrivance whose sole purpose was to hide donors and allow Swallow and Powers to launch smear campaigns against political foes. The House Investigative Committee report uncovered around $452,000 was funneled into this corporation and used to launch smear campaigns against me and Sean Reyes. The bill, which I helped to write, requires corporations that give money to political causes to disclose the donations used to make fund the political cause. In other words if a corporation is going to behave like a Political Action Committee (PAC) then it should be treated like a PAC. If you go to the link above you can click on the status tab and from there you will see that each vote total is a link that allows you to see exactly how each member of the House and Senate voted.
The best description of push polling that I have heard is "negative phone banking masquerading as a poll". The idea behind a push poll is to ask the recipient leading questions like "would you vote for John Doe if you knew he supported ObamaCare?" A push poll is not about determining public opinion but is about pushing it in a certain direction. The other disingenuous aspect of these types of polls is they are usually made from anonymous phone numbers and even though they are expensive to conduct they rarely show up on a campaign expense report. The bill above was another one I wrote. It simply requires that all polls must say who is paying for them. That makes it difficult for a push poller to operate as they certainly don't want the poll being tied back to the candidate they are trying to get into office.
One of the tricks that many campaigns engaged in is the last minute flurry. Prior to this bill being passed, a candidate had 30 days to collect money from anyone and it would not show up on a financial disclosure until after the election was past. This bill requires candidates in a contested race to report donations within three days of receipt. However, there is still a loophole. Receipt of a donation is defined as when the candidate actually deposits the check and not when he receives it. I've seen cases where candidates will put an expense on their credit card and not actually deposit the donation until the credit card bill is due, thus reopening the 30 day window. You can see this by looking for expenses that are reported well after the event.
Some candidates would file a disclosure showing several payments made to "Visa". This is a fallacy and this bill makes it clear that candidates need to designate who actually received the money.
This bill requires third parties making an independent expenditure in a campaign over $1000 to report that expenditure to the Lt. Governor.
There are a number of other bills that passed, but these represent the most significant and needed reforms. As always if you have any questions about any of these or anything else please call me or email me. I'll be glad to answer you.