State Rep. Mike Carroll



Carroll votes to advance campaign finance reform legislation


HARRISBURG, April 20 The House State Government Committee today approved a measure co-sponsored by state Rep. Mike Carroll designed to overhaul campaign finance regulations in Pennsylvania.


The measure (H.B. 2162), which now goes to the full House for consideration, would amend current state election laws by setting campaign contribution limits and other provisions to make the election process more transparent to the public, said Carroll, who voted for the bill as a member of the committee.


Carroll said that unlike 45 other states and the federal government, Pennsylvania has no contribution limits. In addition, Pennsylvania also has no public financing of elections, limited disclosure and filing requirements that do not promote full public access, he said.


"Out-of-control campaign fundraising deters potential candidates and requires those running for office to spend too much time in a mad dash to raise cash to fund their campaigns," Carroll said. "Until we make the reforms outlined in this bill, the legislative process will continue to be compromised."


The bill would set a $2,000 cap on contributions from any person to any candidate for the office of senator or representative in the General Assembly, court of common pleas or a county or local office; and a $5,000 limit from any person to any candidate for statewide office.


Carroll said this legislation would also prohibit campaign funds from being used for personal use; better define a political action committee and how it is reported in campaign finance reports; and impose more stringent reporting requirements.


"Campaign finance reform is the most basic, yet the most important reform we as legislators can make," Carroll said. "We often talk about tax reform, health care reform, insurance reform and education reform; however, true reform simply is not possible unless we curb the influence of special interest money in political campaigns."


Carroll said in addition to his campaign financing reform efforts, he will also continue to work with advocacy groups including the League of Women Voters and Common Cause to reform the redistricting process in Pennsylvania to provide more compact and sensible legislative districts.


"We need to take the politics out of the redistricting process and draw Pennsylvania's legislative districts in an open and nonpartisan process," Carroll said.


Redistricting or reapportionment is the method by which Pennsylvania legislative and congressional districts are redrawn every 10 years, based on the state's population figures obtained from the U.S. Census. The next reapportionment is slated for 2011.