This November the voters in our nation’s capital will likely have the opportunity to ban campaign donations by corporations to local politicians. The Group D.C. Public Trust recently turned in over 30,000 signature to get their initiative on the ballot this year. From D.C. Public Trust:
Today, D.C. Public Trust, a grassroots organization of residents across the District of Columbia, will submit the signatures of more than 30,000 registered voters to the D.C. Board of Elections in support of placing Initiative 70 on November’s general election ballot. The initiative would prohibit corporations from making direct campaign donations to political candidates.
In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters of voter initiatives in DC need to collect the signatures of five percent of registered voters across the city—approximately 23,200 signatures—and meet the five percent threshold in five of the city’s eight wards. In a little more than three months, more than 300 DC Public Trust volunteers collected more than 30,000 signatures in all eight wards, and six of the eight wards will exceed the five percent mark.
Washington D.C. has recently dealt with a flood of political scandals. In the past year both council member Kwame R. Brown and Harry Thomas Jr. resigned facing federal charges. Two former staff members for Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign pleaded guilty to covering up a scheme to funnel money to a rival campaign with the goal of splitting the vote in Gray’s favor. In addition just yesterday a third aide in Gray’s 2011 campaign has been charged with conspiring to break campaign laws and is expected to plead guilty.
If the initiative is approved it would bring D.C. in line with both federal law and the 21 other states that have banned direct corporate campaign donations.