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Campaign Non-Reform, WA-Style

In my last blog entry I referred to my home state of Washington as “slightly more civilized” than some others. Well, today the legislators in Olympia showed just how uncivilized they can be. And, yeah, it’s another episode, another crazy moment where the really disgraceful folks in the Republican Party undid what just might have been a legit, bipartisan campaign reform act.

Earlier in the legislative session both parties had agreed on a bill that would require all non-profits that made contributions to any political campaign register with the State and disclose how much they gave and to whom. It flew through the Senate 49 - 0. Yup, unanimity. Wow. In this political climate that’s like the Mariners winning the World Series.

The House tweaked some of the wording and shipped it back. It had been endorsed by just about everyone on both sides of the aisle including important folks like the Attorney General (D), the Secretary of State (R). What could go wrong? Well, a lot.

Suddenly several lobbying groups got a little twitchy. The Association of General Contractors who’d been hiding in plain sight for years using several loopholes based on establishing shell companies raised concerns. And then the big “wink,” “wink” came from the brothers who rule the land, the Kochs.

And when the “tweaked” bill came back to the Republican controlled Senate, the support vanished. Why? “Well,” said the GOP leaders, “it’s the changed wording introduced by the House….”

The Democrats who had been working on this issue for years made a reasonable offer. They said they’d remove the tweaks and restore the bill to the form that the Senate had passed unanimously just a few days earlier.

I don’t need to finish this story do I?

As the spokesperson for the Washington State Democrats put it, “If you needed more proof that the powerful special interests run the GOP Senate caucus, well, now you got it.”

I really wish this wouldn’t keep happening. I hate this. I really do. I get no pleasure from writing about how nefarious, stupid and underhanded the Republicans are. They leave me no choice.


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