Chair Oshiro, Vice Chair Lee, and Finance Committee members,
As Jean Aoki testified on the original bill to the Judiciary Committee, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports those parts of the bill that indicate the intended amendments clearly, and welcomes the language on Ballot Issue Committees, automated phone calls and in-state depository institutions.
However, as with HB2003, HD1, we are troubled by changes made in HB2004, HD1. In particular, we believe it is wrong to remove provisions relating to $1,000 aggregate per election limit on corporate contributions and expenditures to PACs. The HD1 proposed change states “A company shall make all contributions and expenditures greater than $1,000 in the aggregate in a two-year election period solely through the company's noncandidate committee in accordance with paragraph (a) (1)…” This language could open the door to unchecked increases, which would fuel the perception and reality of even more powerful corporate influence. In the original bill, we certainly did not support the blank left for the maximum amount of money that may be transferred from a corporation's treasury to its noncandidate committee. We strongly believe campaign funds should come from individuals, not corporate treasuries, so in fact, want to see this as zero. However, if allowed, there should be a very low limit, as the previously established $1,000.
I’m sure you’re aware that a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll* on the US Supreme Court’s January 21 decision to allow unfettered corporate political spending found that an overwhelming majority of Americans from across the political spectrum oppose the decision to allow unlimited corporate and union spending. It’s time to focus on fairness and giving human citizens a level playing field.
Please do not raise the $1,000 aggregate limit. Thank you for this opportunity to testify.
*reported in the Washington Post on February 17, 2010