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Analysis: WYO Campaign Finance Loophole is Big - $11,000 Wide So Far

February 16, 2007


Wyomingites with money have found a way to get around the state's campaign finance laws, according to a new analysis from the Equality State Policy Center. Dan Neal with the Center says at least one person donated more than $11,000 to a candidate in Natrona County by creating a Political Action Committee in order to bypass the state's $1,000 legal campaign donation limit.

"It's a big loophole that we think circumvents the spirit of Wyoming's law, which is meant to make certain that no one person will be able to unduly influence any single election."

Wyoming has no limit on PAC donations, and Neal says the state legislature should consider changing the rules to close the loophole. Neal claims there is an easy fix, one that federal election laws already cover.

"The law could impose a limit on the amount of money a political action committee could give any particular candidate in a single election. Federal PACs are limited to $5,000 per candidate, per election."

Those supporting larger donations say it's an extension of a person's right of free speech to donate generously to candidates they choose to support.

Deborah Smith/Jamie Folsom, Public News Service - WY