Texas campaign finance changes proposed

Feb. 22, 2005 at 10:45 AM

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Sponsors of a bipartisan Texas bill say it would clarify a state law that bans the use of corporate and union money for most political purposes.

The bill filed Monday would permit corporations and unions to spend money only on the overhead costs of their own political action committees, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Texas has had a law for more than 100 years that prohibits corporations and union money in political races, except for administrative purposes. Last year three Republican operatives were indicted on charges of misusing corporate contributions.

The bill, proposed by Reps. Todd Smith, R-Euless, and Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, would also prohibit groups funded by anonymous corporate donors from running attack ads 60 days before an election.

"The public is disgusted and turned off by these attack ads when they find they are paid for by unlimited and undisclosed union and corporate money," Smith said.

Several public interest groups, including the Texas League of Women voters, Common Cause, and Texans for Public Justice, support the bill.

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