By Michael Layer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – With Amendment 2 in effect for a few months now, #moleg podcast sat down with Chuck Hatfield, longtime attorney superstar in the Capitol, campaign finance extraordinaire, and a partner at Stinson Leonard Street law firm.
The law, which took effect in June, establishes that candidate committees cannot donate to other candidate committees or political action committees (PACs). It also says that labor unions and corporations (both in and out-of-state) cannot contribute to political campaigns, parties, or committees. Finally, it maintains a $2,600 limit per candidate per election from individual donors and PACs and permits them to transfer money to other PACs.
“It didn’t go through that vetting process. It didn’t go through the pushback process,” he said, comparing the IP process to the legislative process for constitutional amendments. “If you go read that, there are cut and paste jobs in there. My favorite is they define a continuing committee and a political action committee. The ethics commission said, ‘We don’t know what that means.’ They’re the same thing… They cut and pasted from old bills.”
After giving the history of campaign finance laws, he believes that the creation of campaign finance limits will incentivize groups to create PACs and can cause problems for certain campaigning politicians.
“Once you impose campaign finance limits, you have a reason to have a PAC. You didn’t have a reason to have a PAC before. Unlimited contributions from wherever source, you don’t need a PAC. You’re going to have PACs everywhere. Every little lobbying shop is going to have a PAC. Every cooperation is going to have a PAC. And then you’re going to have candidates who are going to form various PACs.”
For him, it’s a matter of asking politicians to regulate themselves, which he feels allows for a conflict of interest. “If you ask the trucking industry to write the trucking regulations, you would get some really weird regulations. If you ask the politicians to write the politician regulations, you get some really weird laws.”
Hatfield talks with co-hosts Becky Lohmann and Rachael Dunn about the pension crisis and state lawsuit audits. #moleg podcast is available at the Missouri Times and on iTunes.
You can listen HERE for the whole podcast.