Amendment 65: Colorado's push for campaign-finance limits wins in landslide
While the state's marijuana amendment is getting a lot of national attention, supporters hope 65 will have an influence federally. And it's a particularly relevant measure in Colorado, given the extreme amount of spending that hit this swing state. Based on the latest data available from the Washington Post's tracker, a whopping $71 million was spent on television advertisements in the state for the presidential race.
A recent CoPIRG report found that outside spending organizations reported $1.11 billion in spending through the final 2012 cycle deadline -- already a 200 percent increase over total 2008 outside spending.
Photo by Brandon Marshall Mitt Romney at his final Colorado rally.
To understand the magnitude of this influence, the report points out that the spending of large donors has effectively wiped out the impact of small donors in fundraising. The two presidential campaigns combined have reported raising $394.4 million from small donors who gave less than $200 apiece, accounting for at least 1,972,000 individuals. But just 629 so-called "mega-donors" contributed $100,000 or more each, adding up to $393.4 million in super PAC donations.
"That really shows that there's a problem," Katz says. "It certainly drowns out the voice of small donors."
Meaningful reforms could be a long ways off. Even if the Colorado delegation were to bring forward a federal amendment, there would have to be a great deal of support nationwide to lead to it being adopted. Additionally, even if such a proposal passed, it wouldn't actually set campaign finance limitations nationally. Rather, it would open up the door for states to legislate their own regulations, which they currently cannot do.
Nine other states have passed similar measures in various forms, Katz says, noting that hundreds of cities have also passed symbolic resolutions of support as well.
Photo by Brandon Marshall Barack Obama at his final Colorado rally.
"We hope that this Colorado measure acts as a catalyst," he says. "For the first time, it really shows that it doesn't matter where you come from.... This is a problem."
He adds, "As an organization that is constantly lobbying our elected officials...one of the things that we're always asked is, 'Well, what do my constituents think?'" he says. "Talk about a powerful way to demonstrate to these elected officials what their constituents think.... They want to see action.... The next step is holding them accountable."
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