by Ken Dammand
In the brave new world of democracy reform, our own Washington State is at the forefront. On the heels of the recent approval of public funding for Seattle City Council offices, a statewide counterpart that would provide all of Washington’s voters with the opportunity to directly participate in the funding of electoral campaigns is being mounted. Initiative 1464, the Washington Government Accountability Act, is a comprehensive act strongly supported by Fix Democracy First. It addresses not only the funding of campaigns but many more of the problems besetting the practice of democracy in Washington State.
Read on for details and how to help…….
Democracy’s problems are complex and interrelated. For maximum effectiveness, several issues must be dealt with simultaneously and by means that are supported across the political spectrum. That is the rationale behind I-1464’s comprehensive approach to democracy reform. The initiative provides $150 in Democracy Credit vouchers that each registered voter may allocate to the campaigns of participating candidates for the offices of state Representative and state Senator. Candidates choosing to accept these Democracy Credits must, in turn, abide by serious restrictions on the size of contributions they may receive and from whom they may receive them. The program is authorized to expand to statewide offices such as Governor in 2024. The “revolving door” issue is addressed by mandatory waiting periods between public service and subsequent employment by businesses directly affected by legislation upon which seated officials have acted. The initiative also includes restrictions on donations by lobbyists and companies directly affected by legislation the candidates will act upon. And all candidates will be required to provide full disclosure of the source of financial contributions. Provisions for firm enforcement of contribution issues are included.
The overall effect of this initiative is to level the playing field between ordinary citizens and well financially endowed special interests.
Signature gathering efforts are currently ongoing and volunteers are needed immediately as signatures are due by the beginning of July for the initiative to be on the November ballot. Fix Democracy First strongly supports this effort by Integrity Washington.
For more information, visit IntegrityWashington.org.