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Legislature Looks at Mapping Campaign Spending Money Trails

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 By Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY, Contact
January 18, 2011

CASPER, Wyo. - One of the items on the Wyoming Legislature's "to-do" list is a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the "Citizens United" case, related to corporations and direct spending in elections. Current Wyoming law that prohibits corporations and unions from direct spending has to change, and a state Senate committee looks at the options today.

Dan Neal, executive director of the Equality State Policy Center, says Wyoming has a strong tradition of requiring public information about spending. He says that can continue, if a public reporting requirement is added to the proposal currently on the table.

"Let's make sure we know where the money's coming from, so that the spending by corporations and others would be more transparent."

Neal explains that if the state law doesn't include specifics on reporting, a company, even one from another country, can set up a dummy nonprofit organization with a misleading name and hide behind that name.

"Then, contribute money under that name – and the way the bill is written right now, that's all they would have to say. We want them to have to report what the corporation itself has contributed."

Disclosure amendments are being debated in the Senate Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee.

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