Senate candidate Orman urges campaign finance reform

Senate candidate Orman urges campaign finance reform

Tim Carpenter
Topeka Capital Journal

U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman unleashed a broadside Monday on political action committees and special-interest organizations by proposing expansion of campaign finance disclosure rules and contribution restrictions

Orman, a wealthy Johnson County businessman running as an independent, said federal law should prohibit shielding of donors' identity by bundling donations, ban congressional leadership PACs and prevent lobbyists and PACs that contribute to federal candidates from receiving federal contracts.

He endorsed passage of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to override the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission. The court held the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations or unions.

"It’s time to shine a light on who is financing politicians in Washington and empower average voters with information — not the party’s misinformation — so that they can make up their own minds about who is influencing decisions in Washington," Orman said.

U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, a Dodge City Republican seeking re-election, opposed a recent attempt in the U.S. Senate to pass a resolution amending the Constitution to thwart Citizens United.

That measure fell short of the needed 60 votes to advance to final action in the Senate. It would have required two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and House.

"Our Founding Fathers," Roberts said last week in a Senate floor speech, "knew that those in power would be inclined to retain it and unless constrained would use their power to punish those who would seek to challenge them or remove them from office.

"The First Amendment denies us that power," the senator said. "It explicitly prohibits this Congress from passing laws that restrict the speech of the American people. With this amendment, the majority wants to try to remove that prohibition. They want to grant themselves the power to control speech — to silence their opposition."

In the Kansas general election, Orman has vowed to decline all PAC contributions.

Orman's campaign calculated Roberts had accepted more than $8 million in PAC donations since elected to federal office in 1980.

Orman and Roberts, for now, also are competing against the Democratic nominee, Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor. However, Taylor's candidacy is in limbo.

Taylor submitted a letter of withdrawal, but Secretary of State Kris Kobach maintains Taylor's documentation was flawed. The Kansas Supreme Court will hear the matter Tuesday.

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