Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis

July-Aug 2000 Compost Dispatch

Missouri Fair Elections Act backers seek 1,000 small contributors

Missouri Voters for Fair Elections (MVFE), sponsor of the initiative petition placing the Fair Elections Act on the November ballot in Missouri, is seeking small contributions from at least 1,000 individuals by Labor Day, to educate the public about the proposal.

"The amount doesn't matter, but the number does," according to MVFE political director Kathleen Logan-Smith. MVFE anticipates an estimated $1 million dollar disinformation campaign by opponents of Fair Elections - wealthy influence peddlars with a vested interest in keeping the current campaign financing system. While that campaign will be funded mostly by huge donations from the largest corporations, MVFE seeks to offset it with small contributions from at least 1,000 individuals.

At the July 5 "Green Wednesday" meeting of the Gateway Greens Alliance, Logan-Smith described the proposal as a comprehensive reform that would help limit campaign spending, cut the influence of special interests, and level the political playing field. It would allow participating candidates for state office who limit campaign spending and take no private money to receive significant funding for their campaigns.

After seven attempts to pass this campaign finance reform law in the Missouri legislature failed, MVFE submitted over 108,000 petition signatures this year demanding that the measure be submitted to voters. "Clearly politicians will not reform themselves," said Logan-Smith. "So it will be up to Missouri voters to get big money out of politics." The proposal now awaits final certification from the Missouri Secretary of State. Supporters are confident it will be on the ballot.

The latest campaign reports from Missouri candidates illustrate the need to get campaign spending under control. "Candidates for the six statewide offices have already raised more than $16 million for their campaigns," said Linda McDaniel, Steering Committee member of MVFE. Over $11 million of that is just by two gubernatorial candidates. "This quarter's reports show that campaign spending is careening out of control - and it will get worse until we pass real reform."

Fair Elections is estimated to cost $13 million per election. Its funding comes from undoing part of a 33% corporate franchise tax rollback recently granted to corporations. The Fair Elections Act would require some corporations - those with more than $2 million in assets - to give back one one-hundredth of one percent (a penny per $100) from that tax break.

For more information about the Fair Elections Act, or to become one of the legion of 1,000 small contributors, contact MVFE at (314) 531-9630.

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