July 17, 2019

Video: Campaign Finance and SB 203: “Is this genie out of the bottle now?”

Leave it to the U.S. Supreme Court to make campaign finance law “hot.” Today it was just that during a lunchtime panel in our classroom, which included Senator Morgan Carroll, Secretary Bernie Buescher, Scott Gessler, Martha Tierney and Richard Westfall. In 90 minutes, the panel discussed the intent, implementation and implications of SB 203, Colorado’s response to the Citizens United case that came out earlier this year.

Richard Westfall
, video excerpt below, spoke last and used some of his time to make general observations about what we heard from the panel.

He complimented the bill’s sponsor, Senator Carroll, noting that she has a ““very deep understanding of the nuances… of campaign finance law.”

He also pointed out that the panel might be able to boast at least one “first,” referring to the joint appearance of Secretary Buescher and Scott Gessler, who are both vying for the Secretary of State position in this year’s election:

I don’t recall ever, in my couple of decades of being involved in the political process, ever being on a panel where two candidates for the same office spoke—and spoke eloquently. With, again, deep understanding and deep sensitivity to what they’re doing. I think this is a first in Colorado history…
And, finally, he laid out the debate we watched, which he characterized as a “very deep substantive debate on, ‘Is this genie out of the bottle now?,'” or, more specifically, a debate over:
[w]hether or not political parties—like this Logan County filing that supposedly we have—can also create a separate, standalone Independent Expenditure Committee and get out from underneath the…  “source and contribution limits.”… And say, this is a separately regulated thing, and it’s called an Independent Expenditure Committee, and all these regulations that relate to political parties, including limitations on corporate contributions—they don’t apply anymore.
This program will soon be available by  MP3 and online video.
Watch more below:

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