New campaign transparency rules proposed

The Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee heard testimony Jan. 30 on a bill that would make adjustments to existing accountability and disclosure laws.

LB676, introduced by Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, said the bill would assist the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission (NADC) in detecting and deterring inappropriate behavior by candidates and campaigns.

“Public confidence may be bolstered by these provisions,” he said.

Under the bill, a committee – other than a political party committee – would be required to submit an end-of-the-year bank statement of its campaign account. In addition, a campaign committee would be prohibited from loaning funds.

The bill also would authorize the NADC to order restitution when appropriate and would increase from $2,000 to $5,000 the maximum penalty for an NADC violation.

Jack Gould of Common Cause Nebraska testified in support of the bill. He said the maximum fine has not been raised in 20 years and may no longer be enough to serve as a deterrent.

“LB676 is really a crucial bill in the sense that the credibility of campaign funds is really at stake,” Gould said.

NADC director Frank Daley also supported the bill, saying it would help the commission do a better job of tracking campaign bookkeeping and potentially could catch problems earlier.

“This provides us with the opportunity to bring it to the attention of the committee … so we have good, clear and accurate campaign filings,” Daley said.

No one testified in opposition and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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