June 17, 2011

Sandoval signs campaign finance bills

Governor Brian Sandoval (R) may have broken his "no new taxes" pledge in the final days of the Legislative session but he stuck to his guns on increasing government transparency.

Sandoval signed Assembly Bills 81, 82 and 452 into law last Friday, the final day he could sign or veto bills passed by the Legislature. Secretary of State Ross Miller heavily championed all three bills, and Miller was happy to see the bill pass.

“I think collectively taken together this will take a substantial step forward in terms of campaign finance and election reform,” Miller told the Nevada News Bureau.

AB 81, aka "The Rory Reid Bill," prevents candidates from creating political action committees for circumventing campaign contribution limits. Reid recently agreed to pay a $25,000 fine for using 90 shell PACS to filter campaign contributions during his failed gubernatorial campaign.

AB 82 enables counties to establish electronic voter registration databases, and also includes a last-minute amendment preventing candidates from accepting campaign contributions from foreign nationals.

AB 452, arguably the most significant campaign finance bill, requires candidates to file online campaign expense reports and establishes an earlier reporting period so early voters have an opportunity to review campaign finance data.

The biggest transparency measure that didn't pass was the "cool-off" clause in AB 452, which would've created a two-year "cooling off period" before former legislators can become paid lobbyists.

Overall, the three bills should help eliminate corruption while increasing transparency in during campaign season.