Monday, February 06, 2006

PAC mentality

For years, Rep. Jeff McLaughlin, D-Guntersville, has tried unsuccessfully to get the Legislature to ban monetary transfers between political action committees, calling them "a way to hide the true source of the money." He's back again this year with a stiff version of the measure that would apply even to legislative caucuses. The state Senate passed similar legislation in 2005, but it died in the House.

A key question is how receptive Alabama politicians may be to such a bill in an election year, considering that many of them receive lots of PAC money. Today's Birmingham News reports that the state's number of PACs has almost tripled since 1988, and many of them are run by the same people.

Another McLaughlin bill that may face an uphill battle is a proposal to institute nonpartisan judicial elections. In past years, Democrats strongly opposed the idea because they dominated statewide polling; today, the GOP is against the plan for much the same reason. As House Minority Leader Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, said, "The one who is doing better wants to keep it like it is."

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