December 15, 1996 in Nation/World

Campaign Financing Revisited Demo Threatens Voter Initiative Unless There’s Legislative Action

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Nearly half a million dollars were spent on state legislative campaigns in the Idaho Panhandle this year, enough money to refuel efforts to put limits on campaigns.

But in Idaho, one of only eight states allowing candidates to accept contributions directly from businesses, campaign finance reform is a tough sell. Idaho puts no limits on contributions.

“Even though every politician who receives a contribution from a PAC or from a corporation would deny it, the appearance of buying influence is always going to be there,” said Bill Mauk, Idaho Democratic Party chairman.

Mauk has threatened to launch a voter initiative if lawmakers don’t deal with campaign finance reform this year. But the prospects for legislative action are by no means certain.

Of the $470,000 in campaign funds raised by North Idaho legislative candidates this year, only 17 percent came from individual citizens.

Sixty-three percent came from businesses, PACs or political party committees, according to an Idaho Spokesman-Review analysis, and more than a quarter of the money was from out of state.

Last year, Democrats in the Senate proposed reforms, but Republicans quashed the bills without even allowing hearings.

House Speaker Mike Simpson said Friday, “Nobody wants to put in rules that will disadvantage themselves.”

“I think there’s an opportunity for some campaign finance reform, but it depends what it’s like,” he said.

Last year’s proposals would have outlawed corporate contributions, required those contributing to campaigns to list their employers and imposed limits on donations similar to those in congressional and other federal races. Federal rules limit contributions from individuals to a candidate to $1,000 for each primary or general election, or $5,000 for PACs.

Simpson said the employer-identification idea might fly, and there might be some support for limits.

“I think it’s all open for discussion.”

He’s skeptical of proposals to ban direct business contributions, and doesn’t like ideas he’s been hearing to require 50 percent of fund-raising to come from within the candidate’s district.

“In Idaho, that doesn’t make sense,” he said. “You represent not only your district, but the entire state.”

Mauk said he believes an initiative to ban corporate contributions and set some limits on other donations would easily win voters’ approval. It was through a voter initiative that Idaho first required disclosure of campaign contributions.

“There is no issue that has more universal support,” Mauk said. “It cuts across partisan lines.”

Here’s how North Idaho legislative candidates’ fund-raising breaks down this year:

District 1

Former Sen. Tim Tucker, D-Porthill, raised $25,007 in his unsuccessful re-election bid, $2,600 of it from individuals, $2,700 from businesses, $3,900 from Democratic party committees, and $9,950 from PACs. That’s just 10 percent from individual citizens. Tucker received $2,550, or 10 percent of his contributions, from out of state interests.

Shawn Keough raised $44,860 to unseat Tucker. She got $12,006 - less than a third of total contributions - from individuals, $6,700 from businesses, $8,500 from Republican party committees, and $10,950 from PACs. She also kicked in $1,261 of her own money, in the form of mileage traveled, and got $10,650, or 24 percent of her war chest, from out of state.

Democrat Rush Balison raised $7,682 to seek an open House seat, while Republican John Campbell raised $6,415 for his winning campaign for the seat.

Balison spent $3,685 of his own money, raised $840 from individuals, $350 from businesses, $1,216 from the Democratic Party and $900 from PACs. Individuals gave 11 percent of his total contributions, while 6 percent came from out of state.

Campbell received nearly all his money in the form of a $5,000 contribution from the National Republican Congressional Committee. The NRCC funneled money through more than two dozen Republican legislative campaigns in the 1st Congressional District this year, with the candidates sending some back to the state party for get-out-the-vote efforts.

Campbell received $350 from individuals, $500 from one business (Ceda-Pine Veneer), $300 from PACs and $100 from the state Republican party. Counting the NRCC money, his out-of-state fund-raising made up 83 percent of his campaign war chest. Individuals contributed 5 percent.

Rep. Jim Stoicheff, D-Sandpoint, raised no money and ran unopposed.

District 2

Though Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, was unopposed in the general election, she raised $10,154 in campaign funds this year. She got $650 from individuals, $2,350 from businesses and $5,150 from PACs. Just 6 percent of her total came from individuals, while 23 percent was from out of state.

Sen. Clyde Boatright, R-Rathdrum, raised $40,859 this year, with just 5 percent coming from individual citizens and $11,700, or 29 percent, from out of state.

Boatright received $2,150 from individuals, $11,000 from businesses, $10,125 from GOP committees and $11,679 from PACs. Boatright loaned his campaign $5,000, but paid the loan back in October.

His unsuccessful challenger, Democrat Larry Kenck, raised $22,035, more than half of that from labor groups. He received $1,898 from individuals, $650 from businesses, $2,655 from the Idaho Democratic Party, $2,200 from PACs and $13,000 from labor. Fifty-five percent of the money was from out of state, mostly from unions whose headquarters are over the state line in Washington, while 9 percent was from individuals.

Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, raised $16,952 to successfully defend his House seat, with 9 percent of that from individuals and 45 percent from out of state. Meyer got $1,575 from individuals, $3,900 from businesses, $6,750 from GOP committees and $3,950 from PACs.

His challenger, Democrat Marc McGregor, did no fund-raising, instead using just $616 of his own funds for the campaign.

District 3

Sen. Gordon Crow, R-Hayden, built a $33,720 campaign fund, including a $216 loan from himself and a $1,094 loan from Washington Water Power.

Crow received $6,055 from individuals, or 18 percent; $11,061 from businesses; $8,735 from party committees; and $7,292 from PACs. Twenty-nine percent of his total was from out of state. Crow’s unsuccessful challenger, D.E. “Sam” Sears, reported raising $7,761, including $600 from individuals (7 percent), $1,707 from the state Democratic Party in the form of a mailing, $1,175 from PACs, $1,300 from labor, and $1,000 in loans from himself. Twelve percent came from out of state, all from unions who sent their checks from Spokane or Seattle.

Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, raised $23,044 in his successful bid to unseat Rep. Marvin Vandenberg, D-Coeur d’Alene.

Clark got $4,530, or 20 percent, from individuals, $3,548 from businesses, $6,100 from GOP committees and $1,050 from PACs. He made $6,245 in loans to his campaign, and 26 percent of his total was from out of state.

Vandenberg raised $13,170, including $800 from individuals, $2,600 from businesses, $200 from the House Democrats, $2,350 from labor and $6,175 from PACs. About 20 percent of his funds came from out of state, all from unions or utility companies.

Rep. Jeff Alltus, R-Hayden, pulled in $19,935 in his successful re-election campaign, with the biggest chunk - $7,000 - coming from Republican party committees. He received $3,275, or 16 percent, from individuals, $5,050 from businesses and $1,850 from PACs. Thirty percent of his money was from out of state.

His challenger, Democrat Alan Wasserman, raised $10,915, including $4,322, or 40 percent, from individuals. Wasserman received $2,023 from Democratic party committees, $1,325 from PACs and $500 from labor. About 22 percent of his money came from out of state.

District 4

Sen. Jack Riggs, R-Coeur d’Alene, raised $65,111 in his successful bid to unseat longtime Sen. Mary Lou Reed, D-Coeur d’Alene. Riggs’ campaign fund included $17,930 of his own money, $11,000 of that in loans to his campaign.

Riggs received $7,262, or 11 percent, from individuals, $4,900 from businesses, $12,143 from GOP committees and $15,178 from PACs. Eleven percent was from out of state, nearly all of that in a $7,000 NRCC contribution.

Reed raised $62,117, including $6,000 in loans from her husband, Scott. Individuals contributed $16,350 to her campaign, or 26 percent. She got $3,480 from businesses, $4,000 from Democratic party committees, $11,350 from PACs and $3,600 from labor. About 19 percent of her money came from out of state.

Rep. Larry Watson, D-Wallace, raised $26,170 to win his seat from former Rep. Tom Dorr, R-Post Falls, but $8,000 of that was a bank loan. Watson received $3,060 or 12 percent, from individuals, $950 from businesses, $3,490 from Democratic party committees, $5,025 from PACs and $2,650 from labor. About 12 percent was from out of state.

Dorr reported raising $17,455, much of it - $10,850 - from Republican Party committees. He got $1,300 from individuals, 7 percent, $1,555 from businesses, $2,020 from PACs and spent $1,000 of his own money. Thirtyfour percent was from out of state.

Rep. Don Pischner, R-Coeur d’Alene, raised $15,091 for his successful re-election campaign. He got $700, or 5 percent, from individuals, $2,850 from businesses, $6,250 from GOP committees and $3,029 from PACs. He loaned his campaign nearly $2,000, but had $2,461 left in the bank after the election. Thirty-eight percent of Pischner’s money came from out of state.

His challenger, Democrat Don Heikkila, raised $3,689, including nearly $800 in loans to his campaign. He got $670, or 18 percent, from individuals, $100 from businesses, $600 from Democratic party committees, $175 from PACs and $200 from labor. Heikkila had no out-ofstate money.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CAMPAIGN MONEY North Idaho legislative races drew a total of more than $470,000 in campaign contributions this year. Here’s how the fund-raising breaks down for candidates from each party:

REPUBLICANS 20 percent from businesses 23 percent from PACs 30 percent from party committees 14 percent from individual citizens 13 percent from the candidate Overall, 28 percent of Republicans’ money came from out of state, 72 percent from within Idaho

DEMOCRATS 7 percent from businesses 26 percent from PACs 13 percent from party committees 21 percent from individual citizens 15 percent from the candidate 18 percent from labor Overall, 24 percent of Democrats’ money came from out of state, 76 percent from within Idaho Figures are percentages of itemized contributions made in legislative Districts 1 through 4. Source: Idaho Secretary of State’s office, staff research.

This sidebar appeared with the story: CAMPAIGN MONEY North Idaho legislative races drew a total of more than $470,000 in campaign contributions this year. Here’s how the fund-raising breaks down for candidates from each party:

REPUBLICANS 20 percent from businesses 23 percent from PACs 30 percent from party committees 14 percent from individual citizens 13 percent from the candidate Overall, 28 percent of Republicans’ money came from out of state, 72 percent from within Idaho

DEMOCRATS 7 percent from businesses 26 percent from PACs 13 percent from party committees 21 percent from individual citizens 15 percent from the candidate 18 percent from labor Overall, 24 percent of Democrats’ money came from out of state, 76 percent from within Idaho Figures are percentages of itemized contributions made in legislative Districts 1 through 4. Source: Idaho Secretary of State’s office, staff research.


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