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WYO Legislature Looks at Adding More Money to Politics

February 18, 2008

Cheyenne, WY – If "money talks" in politics, it could soon have an even louder voice in Wyoming. Campaign finance watchdogs say they're concerned about the impact of a bill scheduled for a vote this week.

The Wyoming Legislature is expected to vote Tuesday on House Bill 9, a proposal to increase the amount of money that people can donate to a political candidate during each election cycle. The current limit is $2,000; the bill proposes bumping that limit to $7,000. Sarah Gorin, with the Equality State Policy Center, says that's quite a change.

"We should care because, if individuals can give more money, it concentrates influence in political giving. I don't think many members of the general public think that more money in politics is a good thing."

Supporters of the legislation note that the limits are being raised to account for inflation. However, Gorin believes public perception also is important, to maintain citizens' confidence in the election system. She argues that higher campaign contribution limits would make it easy for a few, very wealthy contributors to dominate legislative and local government races.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - WY