Campaign bill will keep us informed

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 28, 2005

Dear Editor,

The Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information is a FirstAmendment coalition dedicated to furthering open government inMississippi. We think campaign finance disclosure is an importantelement in keeping government accountable to the public.

We support a strong campaign finance reform bill and urgelegislators to restore the original provisions of HB 1102 or passSB 2387 as amended by the House.

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These three provisions we believe are vital to a strong campaignfinance reform bill that will enable the public to track the moneyfunneled into the coffers of political candidates:

* Disclose the sources of soft money, including moneytransferred between PACs.

* Disclose the identity of individuals or groups who make loansto candidates, the amounts and information on how the money wasused and plans for repayment.

* Require major candidates and political committees to filetimely electronic reports of sources of campaign funds.

Mississippi access laws state that open government is the law.That principle can be extended and reinforced with a strongcampaign finance reform bill.

Citizens should have a right to know who bankrolls the campaignsof candidates who set the policies for our state.

We support and applaud legislative efforts to enact a strongcampaign finance reform bill that will enable citizens to know whatindividuals and groups are influencing policy in this state byfunding political campaigns.

Legislative conference committee members drafting the campaignfinance reform bill are Reps. Tommy Reynolds, Ferr Smith and DirkDedeaux and Sens. Terry Burton, Merle Flowers and Charlie Ross.Citizens who want to be heard on this issue can find the e-mailsfor these legislators at

Jeanni Atkins,

executive director,

Mississippi Center for Freedom of Information