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Campaign Reform Measure Goes to Spokane City Council on Monday

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

On Monday the Spokane City Council will consider a proposal that would change the rules that govern how political campaigns for city offices are funded.

City Council President Ben Stuckart calls his proposal the Spokane Fair Elections program.
Some of the highlights: Stuckart says it would cut in half the maximum allowable donation to candidates, from $1,000 to $500.

It would define when candidates can raise money. For example, council candidates looking to run in 2019 wouldn’t be able to take contributions until January 1, 2018.

And he says it would limit when certain entities, such as public sector unions and companies that compete for city contracts, can donate.

“We have contractors that have gotten over hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of city contracts that then give largely to races," Stuckart said. "So we’ve said if you have a contract with the city of Spokane, over 50-thousand dollars in the previous two years, you can’t give directly to candidates any more.”

Stuckart says the goal is to reduce the importance and influence of money in city races and put the emphasis back on meeting voters. He says that formula has proven successful for city elected officials such as Mayor David Condon.

“When he beat Mayor Verner, he doorbelled quite extensively," Stuckart said. "It was the same year I beat Dennis Hession and I out doorbelled him. In my re-election I went and doorbelled another 10-thousand doors and you learn more, but you also get to know the people out there. They see you. I’d much rather have my politicians out doorbelling than raising money.”

Stuckart’s proposal will be open to public testimony Monday night and perhaps a vote.


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