by Max Brantley
Regnat Populus 2012, a ballot question committee I've written about before, has submitted its ethics reform proposal to the attorney general's office for review.
It's pared down to three simple propositions:
1) To prohibit business and union contributions to political campaigns. Only individual and PAC contributions would be allowed.
2) To require a two-year cooling-off period before a legislator could become a lobbyist. It would apply to legislators elected this year.
3) To prohibit gifts of any value — including food, travel or lodging — to elected officials, related to their official capacity.
Good ideas. They should be wildly popular. Whether the group can build a sufficient grassroots network to gather the necessary signatures is another matter.
Their website also contains full details on the proposal and details on getting involved in collecting signatures. News release follows:
Regnat Populus 2012, a citizen-led Ballot Question Committee, has filed its proposed Initiated Act, “The Campaign Finance Transparency and Lobbying Reform Act of 2012,” with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office for approval of the title language.
Upon acceptance, the Committee will begin the canvassing efforts necessary to acquire the needed signatures to qualify the Proposed Act to be included on the 2012 General Election ballot this November.
In brief, the proposed language includes provisions for the following changes to existing Arkansas Campaign Finance and Lobbying statutes:
1. Enable greater transparency of contributions by disallowing direct corporate and union contributions to state political campaigns, thus aligning Arkansas state law with current Federal Election Commission rules.
2. Lengthen the “cooling-off” period that legislators must wait after leaving office before they return as lobbyists from 1 year to 2 years.
3. Enact the so-called “Wal-Mart Rule,” disallowing gifts from lobbyists to legislators, allowing legislation before the General Assembly to be considered strictly on its merits.
The Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee derived its name from the Arkansas state motto which means “The People Rule.” Regnat Populus hopes to utilize citizen involvement to mobilize a wide-spread volunteer canvassing effort. The full text of the proposed initiative, information about the group and opportunities to volunteer are posted at www.regnatpopulus2012.com.