Proposal to Help Take Big Money out of Campaigns Dies

February 29, 2012

(Denver) –Rep. Pete Lee’s bill to encourage more Coloradans to run for office and help curb the influence of special interests in elections was killed in the State, Military & Veterans Affairs committee today.

HB12-1235, sponsored by Rep. Lee (D-Colorado Springs), would have created a campaign contribution fund that would have helped finance campaigns of candidates who are running for a state House or Senate seat in the Colorado General Assembly. Interested candidates would voluntarily agree to established limitations on acceptable contributions. The intent was to encourage potential candidates who do not have the money to run for office or do not want to accept money from PACs or other special interests.

The campaign contribution fund would have been funded by a tax check-off or individual gifts, grants and donations, and not taxpayer dollars. This bill is based on other legislation passed in numerous states including Arizona, Connecticut and North Carolina. More than 50 percent of Arizona’s state legislative candidates used public funds in 2008.

Rep. Lee said he knew presenting this legislation was an uphill battle.

“I hear from Coloradans all the time about how concerned they are about big money and special interests in politics,” Rep. Lee said. “This bill is a creative approach and one way to start the conversation in addressing these concerns. I look forward to continuing this important conversation in the future.”

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