Image Credit: capitol.tn.gov
The Tennessee Conservative [By Adelia Kirchner] –
A bill to limit the amount of out-of-state campaign funding that state and federal level candidates in Tennessee can accept was shot down by the House Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee yesterday afternoon.
House Bill 0388 (HB0388), sponsored by Rep. Dave Wright (R-Corryton-District 19), would have prevented Tennessee candidates or political campaign committees from accepting contributions greater than 30 percent of their total received contributions from people and/or groups based outside of state lines.
Present law places no limits on the amount of out-of-state funding a candidate can accept while running their campaign for office. This legislation would have ensured that the majority of campaign funding would be from in-state individuals, political action committees (PACs), etc.
Some considered this legislation necessary in preventing transplants from other areas who may not know enough about the state, from securing key political seats within it.
Sen. Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains-District ), sponsor of the corresponding Senate Bill 0100 (SB0100), previously summed up the driving force behind this legislation saying, “money equals votes.”
However, after a brief introduction and no further discussion during a meeting of the House Elections and Campaign Finance Subcommittee on March 15th, HB0388 was promptly declared a failed bill by voice vote.
Since the General Assembly website didn’t record any of the voice votes, The Tennessee Conservative reached out to Subcommittee members Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro-District 34), Jeff Burkart (R-Clarksville-District 75), John Crawford (R-Bristol/Kingsport-District 1), Clay Doggett (R-Pulaski-District 70), Esther Helton-Haynes (R-East Ridge-District 30) , Larry J. Miller (D-Memphis-District 88) and Jerome Moon (R-Maryville-District 8) to ask them how they voted and why.
At time of publication, only Subcommittee Chair Rep. Tim Rudd had responded.
Rep. Rudd told The Tennessee Conservative his reasons for voting against the bill saying, “(1) it was not needed or warranted. (2) It put an undue burden on the candidate to keep track of percentages. Donations are either given via mail or at fundraiser events. [and] (3) Existing fundraising limits are already very limiting, and I see no need to further restrict them.”
While this legislation would have put additional requirements on candidates and their campaign teams, one may argue that the extra work is worth ensuring Tennessee legislators are acting in the true interest of their constituents and home state.
About the Author: Adelia Kirchner is a Tennessee resident and reporter for the Tennessee Conservative. Currently the host of Subtle Rampage Podcast, she has also worked for the South Dakota State Legislature and interned for Senator Bill Hagerty’s Office in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach Adelia at firstname.lastname@example.org.