Olympia – Transparency and accountability are at the heart of campaign finance legislation introduced today by Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane.

Senate Bill 5108 would help curb the practice of moving money from one political action committee (PAC) to another for the purpose of obscuring donor transparency.

Currently, PACs are required to list their top five donors on campaign advertisements so voters can understand who is sponsoring the advertisement. But certain PACs have found a loophole to disguise their donors’ identities by moving money to subsequent shadow PACs that do not have any real donors to disclose.

“The public has a right to know who is funding elections in our state. Voters of this state are thirsty for information and transparency,” said Billig. “This isn’t a partisan issue. There are players from across the political spectrum who are trying to stay in the shadows and find loopholes to hide their money. It’s time to shine a light on these activities so voters can make informed decisions.”

When talking about the need for strong public disclosure, Billig notes that an additional reason for disclosure is to raise the level of discourse in election advertising.

Billig quoted the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who said, “Requiring people to stand up in public for their political acts fosters civic courage, without which democracy is doomed. For my part, I do not look forward to a society which … exercises the direct democracy of initiative and referendum hidden from public scrutiny and protected from the accountability of criticism. This does not resemble the Home of the Brave.”

In addition to SB 5108, Billig will again be introducing the Washington State DISCLOSE Act, Billig’s signature campaign reform legislation that has been blocked by the Republican Majority in the Senate three years running.

The DISCLOSE Act would require non-profit organizations participating in state and local political campaigns to disclose their contributions and expenditures. Currently, some non-profits are funneling undisclosed money into political campaigns.

“As long as I serve in office, I will be resolute in my efforts to make our elections more transparent and more accountable to voters,” said Billig. “I believe in putting your money where your mouth is. To the people and organizations who intentionally seek ways to disguise their money, my question is, ‘What are you afraid of? Why don’t you want voters to know who you are? What are you trying to hide?’”