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Hate Crimes on the rise in the United States. Also on the Wednesday rundown: a big hearing in Denver on a proposed rollback of methane limits; plus find out about "Give to the Max Day."

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WYO Campaign Finance “Faux Pas?”

February 28, 2008

Cheyenne, WY – Good intentions gone astray. That's how campaign finance reform advocates are describing an effort to close a loophole in Wyoming's campaign finance laws.

"HB 9" began as legislation to limit donations from political action committees (PACs) to candidates, to the same standards as federal donations. But, along the way, it has become a plan that would allow more money than ever to flow into campaigns from individual donors.

The original idea behind limiting PAC contributions was so that individuals could not declare themselves "one-person PACs" and thereby get around individual contribution limits. here. But HB 9 more than triples Wyoming's current donation limits for individuals.

Is this a wrong turn on the campaign finance trail? Marguerite Herman, with the League of Women Voters of Wyoming, says it doesn't help boost public confidence in elections.

"It does seem to shut out people who don't have a lot of well-heeled friends, and have access to a lot of PAC money."

Herman believes campaign donation limits are in the best interest of the general public, keeping people and companies with big money from trying to control candidates.

"The more you open up the process to diverse kinds of people, you end up with diverse kinds of people in your elected decision-making bodies."

Supporters of raising the donation limits, or removing limits altogether, say if candidates are able to raise large amounts of money, they should be allowed to do so. HB 9 gets a third reading today in the legislature.


Deborah Smith/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - WY