NC Senate Republicans attach new proposal to controversial anti-masking bill to create a ‘money laundering scheme for Mark Robinson’

NC Senate Republicans attach new proposal to controversial anti-masking bill to create a ‘money laundering scheme for Mark Robinson’

North Carolina Senate Republicans were up to their usual anti-democratic tricks again on Thursday when they introduced a surprise proposal to make changes to state campaign finance law – and then attached it to a controversial anti-masking bill.

The proposal would change the current campaign finance law to allow more donations from dark money groups. Currently, state law bans corporations and labor unions from giving money directly to political candidates. Both groups, though, are allowed to give unlimited money to federal political fundraising organizations, also known as 527 committees.

Bob Hall, a campaign finance watchdog and former executive director of Democracy North Carolina, told NC Newsline that the changes to the law are complex, but will likely make a significant impact.

According to Hall, the proposal would give wealthy donors new ways to give as much money as they want (potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars) to support a specific state candidate without their name being identified with the donation. How would they do that? By changing the law to allow those donations to go to a 527 committee, such as the Republican Governors Association, which could then give that money, in its name and not the donor’s, to a party committee or affiliate that’s controlled by the candidate – all without having to disclose where that money came from.

The Republican proposal also limits disclosure requirements and would make it far more difficult for the N.C. State Board of Elections to review questionable contributions until “weeks and weeks after the fact.”

The move by Senate Republicans resulted in an immediate walk-out by Senate Democrats and then an impromptu press conference.

“Senate Democrats walked out today because this election bill literally allows convicted felons and millionaires to buy our coming elections,” Sen. Jay Chaudhuri said. “We walked out today because it is critical we shine a light on a dark-of-night rushed process that will undermine our democratic process.”

“It’s no coincidence that such a rule change will be passed just two days after ads about Mark Robinson’s extreme abortion position started running,” Chaudhuri added.

In simpler terms, this change to the state’s campaign finance law is nothing more than “a money laundering scheme for Mark Robinson,” Melissa Price Kromm of the advocacy group North Carolina For the People Action told WRAL.

The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled state House, where it will be taken up next week.

Patrick Zarcone

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