Bill making campaign financing pilot program permanent sent to House Judiciary

By Kyla Asbury | Mar 8, 2013

CHARLESTON – The bill that would make the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program permanent has been introduced in the House and sent to the House Judiciary.

CHARLESTON – The bill that would make the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program permanent has been introduced in the House and sent to the House Judiciary.

House Bill 2805 is sponsored by Del. Tim Manchin and co-sponsored by delegates Tim Miley, John N. Ellem, Patrick Lane, Barbara Evans Fleischauer, Mike Manypenny, Nancy Guthrie, Michael Caputo, Doug Reynolds, Harry Keith White and Stephen Skinner.

The public financing pilot program was used by now-Supreme Court Justice Allen Loughry during his 2012 campaign. He was the only candidate in that race who elected to use the program.

Loughry received $350,000 for his campaign through the program.

In September, the state Supreme Court denied his writ seeking to force the State Election Commission to provide his campaign with matching funds.

The matching funds provision was designed to help candidates who were being outspent by opponents who were not taking part in the program.

Loughry filed his writ of mandamus on July 30, arguing that the SEC “failed to carry out the unambiguous duty” imposed under the program.

In the petition, Loughry argued that the commission violated the statutory command of West Virginia code that requires the commission to authorize the release of funds once a determination was made that the conditions for a release was met.

The state Supreme Court explained in a 5-0 ruling that the question was not only whether the SEC had a statutory duty to authorize the release of matching funds, but whether the funds provision violated the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

The purpose of this bill is to remove language that violates the United States Constitution.

The bill makes the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Pilot Program a permanent program and adjusts payments that certified candidates are eligible to receive from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Campaign Financing Program.

The bill eliminates additional reporting periods for non-participating candidates and clarifies who is entitled to receive contributions.

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