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Campaign finance bill dies in the House

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates Democrats failed Wednesday to pass a controversial campaign finance reform bill.  HB 4463 died when bill supporters failed to get enough votes for passage.

Apparently seeing that they were short of the votes, House leaders decided to lay the bill over for a day, but since all House bills had to be passed by Wednesday, the bill is essentially dead.

Supporters said they wanted a bill that would clean up elections by requiring greater disclosure about donors by organizations and candidates who run political ads.

“We have corporations, we have millionaires and billionaires spending money (on campaigns),” said Julie Archer of West Virginia Citizen Action Group.  “They don’t want us to know who they are (and) they are trying to influence our elections.”

However, business groups and West Virginia broadcasters opposed the bill, arguing it made campaign finance rules too complicated and that it was unconstitutional. The opponents picked up more support when West Virginians for Life called on lawmakers to vote against the bill.

Michele Crist of the West Virginia Broadcasters Association said if the bill passed it would have made the fourth time the Legislature has passed unconstitutional restrictions on campaign finance laws.

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