“Legalized bribery and extortion” is how the League of Women Voters is describing a campaign-finance-reform proposal moving through the Florida Legislature. The group is strongly opposing House Speaker Will Weatherford’s proposal to raise campaign-contribution limits to 20 times the current cap.
Limiting individual campaign contributions is key to avoiding corruption. That’s according to Adam Skaggs, chief counsel and researcher at NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice. On a conference call arranged by the League of Women Voters, he said, raising the contribution limit from $500 to $10,000, as Weatherford proposes, would also discourage people from participating in elections.
“The incentives to make a modest, non-corrupting contribution— $25, $50, $100 — will be greatly reduced," he said. "Voters will naturally assume, ‘Why should I bother to make a $50 contribution when that can just be drowned out by a special interest?'"
In exchange for raising the contribution cap, Speaker Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) has proposed stricter contribution-reporting requirements. But the League said, that trade-off is not worth considering.