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Pending Election and Current Campaign Practices Demonstrate Need for Campaign Reforms
Secretary of State Ross Miller Announces Package of Legislation to Increase Transparency in Campaign Funding and Spending
Posted Date: 10/13/2010

Contact: Pam duPré
(775) 684-5748

(Carson City, NV; October 13, 2010) – Secretary of State Ross Miller is strengthening his legislative package that will increase the transparency and accessibility of information on candidate and political action committee (PAC) campaign contributions and expenses. The legislation is a response to some of the campaign practices being employed during the current election cycle and Miller’s ongoing campaign reform efforts, and will allow the public to more easily find out the sources and amounts being spent to influence Nevada campaigns.

Secretary Miller says Nevada should not accept its poor performance in national rankings on the state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws and he is prepared to continue fighting for even bolder action on campaign finance reform. “I have made this issue a priority, and have introduced some of these measures before,” said Miller. “While some measures have been taken, they don’t go far enough in giving the voter real time information about the money being raised and spent by candidates, or by in-state or out-of-state groups supporting or opposing candidates. We want to give voters access to as much information as possible before they go to the polls. That’s when the information is the most valuable to the voters.”

The Secretary of State's legislative package will increase the transparency of Nevada’s campaign finance laws by:
• requiring candidates and PACs to electronically file contribution and expense reports;
• establishing a searchable campaign contribution database;
• adding to the reporting period an additional contribution and expense report to be submitted prior to the start of voting;
• requiring candidates to report 4 days prior to election day any contribution over $1,000 received since the previous reporting period;
• requiring PACs to update registration annually with the Secretary of State's office; increased penalties for election violations;
• requiring the parties making independent expenditures to register with the Secretary of State’s office, include disclaimers on their materials, and to report their finances before voting begins. Independent expenditures will also be subject to the same contribution limits as candidates.

Secretary Miller said his current legislative proposal will need to be further refined in the area of independent expenditures. “This election cycle proves that we need to pull back the curtain on special interest funding of independent expenditures, “ said Secretary Miller. “The current law which requires independent expenditures to be reported doesn’t provide an accurate depiction of how the money is being raised or who the parties are behind the expenditures.” Currently, that information must only be reported after most Nevadans have already voted. In addition to addressing the failures of Nevada’s reporting requirements, Secretary Miller’s bill seeks to get a handle on the amounts of money infused into Nevada’s elections. “The level of uncontrolled special interest spending has caused the limits on contributions to be almost completely irrelevant.

“I encourage all concerned citizens to help me turn up the heat and make reform happen in 2011,” said Miller. “It’s going to take the collective voice of Nevada’s voters, the people who will benefit most from this reform.”

In a written statement, the Nevada Press Association expressed strong support for the reform package, saying the group “supports the secretary of state’s efforts to make campaign contribution (reports) as transparent and timely as possible. Along with their stance on issues and the personalities of the candidates, the money driving campaigns is a key consideration for voters. With these changes, Secretary of State Ross Miller can shine some much-needed light on the financing of election campaigns in Nevada.”

The Nevada League of Women Voters also endorsed the proposals, saying the group supports “legislation that will improve all levels of transparency in the election process to protect the public’s right to know, combat corruption and undue influence, and promote citizen participation in the political process.”

The proposed legislation also addresses other election processes including enhanced voter registration protections and third-party voter registration activities.

Summary of campaign reform legislative package