A campaign finance bill to address dark money in politics died on party lines after a surprise move to bring the bill before the Senate. (TRT: 1:11) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD


A bill to address dark money in politics – or the unlimited, anonymous donations given to politically active nonprofit organizations– died on Wednesday in the Washington State Senate.

Senate Bill 5153 would require that non-profit organizations participating in political campaigns register with the Public Disclosure Commission and disclose their campaign-related contributions and expenditures.

Sen. Andy Billig of Spokane sponsored the bill and urged his colleagues to vote ‘yes’ to bring the bill before the Senate for concurrence – the bill’s final hurdle.

Sen. Andy Billig, D- Spokane: (TRT: 17) CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: “Today there’s an objection to even considering to even talking about it. This is a big vote. It’s one of those votes that really will make a difference for this state. A ‘yes’ vote is a vote for transparency, a ‘no’ vote on this motion is a vote in favor of more dark money in politics. Please join me.”

The motion failed on party lines just six weeks after the chamber unanimously approved the bill 49 to 0.

The bill was supported by editorial boards across the state, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State. Sen. Billig has said he will bring the bill back in a special session or during next year’s regular legislative session.

Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.