The corporate legislature. PACs power fund-raising for some candidates | Arkansas Blog

Monday, November 5, 2018

The corporate legislature. PACs power fund-raising for some candidates

Posted By on Mon, Nov 5, 2018 at 8:07 AM

REP. MARCUS RICHMOND: Constituent campaign contributions? Who needs them when you have PAC gravy.
  • REP. MARCUS RICHMOND: Constituent campaign contributions? Who needs them when you have PAC gravy.
Credit to Blue Hog Report for select looks at state legislative fund-raising that invite a broader examination at some point: It's about how incumbent legislators rely on corporate cash for campaigns, not money from people who live in their districts.

Blue Hog's examples:

* HOUSE DISTRICT 21: This is the turf of Republican incumbent Rep. Marcus Richmond of Harvey. Outside his own money, he's raised $27,800. Of that, only $1,100 came from people (three of them, including his mother- and father-in-law) who live in his district.  Most of the rest came from corporate-funded PACs (a recent list is viewable here). This is one of the many dirty secrets about the failed "ethics" amendment of 2014 that raised legislative pay, extended term limits and otherwise contributed to a permanent legislative class, many without other gainful employment. Direct corporate contributions were prohibited, but nothing was done about corporate contributions to PACs, which can give up to $5,000 to candidates. PACs love incumbents both for favors past and for their built-in election advantage.

* HOUSE DISTRICT 38: This is Republican Rep. Carlton Wing's district in North Little Rock and Sherwood. Wing has raised $47,886. Of that only, $3,100 came from individual contributions in his district — seven of them. About 62 percent of his contributions, came from PACs. Comments Blue Hog:

Many of the Republicans that we’ve looked at this cycle are approaching fundraising the same way: no sense in wasting time talking to constituents to get contributions when PACs will cut a much fatter check much more quickly.

It is noteworthy, though, that Wing’s opponent, Chase Mangiapane, had twenty-four individual in-district donors in his September CC&E alone. It will be interesting to see if the voters in District 38 choose the candidate who has actually knocked on doors and raised money from within the district, or the one who has relied on PACs over people for nearly all of his fundraising.
Some Democrats have proposed outlawing PAC contributions to candidates. Those ideas haven't enjoyed favor in the Republican-majority legislature.

Over the years, Democrats have availed themselves of the PAC option, too, of course. And there are SOME candidates who've aggressively sought individual contributions and refused PAC contributions. A worthy project would be a review of PAC vs. individual contributions in all the legislative races this year. A side issue is incumbents who raised money despite being unopposed and have salted away $40,000 or so for future needs. Not that a legislator would ever use that money for personal expenses, because that's illegal. Right, Jeremy?

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