Just in time for the 2015 election cycle, the city Board of Ethics is looking to close some potential loopholes in Philadelphia's campaign finance regulations.
Given the "high rise," in independent campaign contributions and coordinated expenditures nationwide, the ethics board's director of enforcement Michael Cooke said the board should add specific language to the existing regulations to make clear what counts as a contribution and for what purposes.
Some of the changes suggested at Wednesday's meeting include:
- Republication of campaign material would be considered a coordinated efforts between donor and campaign and therefore subject to contribution limits.
- Campaign material provided to a third party, including websites such as YouTube, by the candidate is considered consent for republication (and therefore, subject to the republication provisions).
- Republication would not be considered an in-kind contribution if the material is used against the candidate "that prepared the material."
A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held Sep. 7.
The board is "Trying to craft the appropriate regulations that will deal with the new reality post Citizens United," Cooke said, referring to the Supreme Court's 2010 decision that allowed corporations to give unlimited funds to political committees supporting candidates.
One example Cooke used for coordinated contributions is if a campaign donor directly pays a radio station for advertising for a candidate's campaign that is still considered an in-kind contribution and limits would still apply. In-kind contributions have the same limits as cash- $2,900 from individuals and $11,500 from political committees and other businesses.
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