Daily Sun News Editorial

Publicly disclose funding sources

If you saw the money that passes to elected officials out of the public eye you’d be surprised.

So-called non-profit organizations state wide rake in millions of dollars, then hand it off to lawmakers in the form of campaign contributions, usually without a single cent being reviewed by the public. The transactions open the door for undue influence to some of the state’s largest donors, and overshadowing the general public’s ability to successfully lobby.

Senate Bill 5991, introduced by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, would close the loophole that allows non-profits to donate large sums of money to political campaigns without having to report their activities. We applaud Billig for putting the public’s right to know ahead of financial coffers of a lawmaker or political action committee.

Under the bill, not-for-profits would be required to disclose publicly how much money they donated, to whom and to what cause, if they allocated more than $10,000 in a calendar year.

So far, 27 senators — both Democrats and Republicans — are voicing their support for the so-called “DISCLOSE Act.”

“The DISCLOSE Act, is about bringing dark money into the light,” Billig said. “The public has a right to know and to be informed about the source of funds that are influencing our elections.”

Billig is right. Loopholes should have never been given to so-called not-for-profit groups in Washington state, where laws already fall too short in the disclosures required from agencies deriving a benefit on the backs of taxpayers.

Transparency is a key factor in good government. And lawmakers and political groups shouldn’t be allowed to hide who is donating dark money and pulling their financial strings for influence in Olympia.



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