Editorial: Political action committees

The following is an editorial from FOX6 WBRC-TV General Manager Lou Kirchen, first aired on Thursday, March 25, 2010:

Political action committees, known as PACs, are comprised of folks who feel strongly about an issue.  They contribute to that PAC with the goal of educating and ultimately influencing politicians.  PACs contribute to the campaigns of political candidates.   There's nothing wrong with that, right?  Your hot button may be gambling, taxes, education, health care…you can't get to Montgomery to have your views heard, so you contribute to a PAC.  

On the other side of this…

As a voter, would you like to know who is donating huge sums of cash to your politicians' campaigns?  Well, you can't.

In Alabama it's legal for political action committees to transfer money to other PACs…which then donate to the politicians.  When the transfer happens, you can't trace the money back to its original source.

The Alabama House passed a bill to outlaw that on a vote of 101 to zero.  But, in the Senate,  Senator Rodger Smitherman of Birmingham assigned it to a committee, where it appears destined to die.  

Year after year the Senate kills the PAC to PAC ban…which allows the secret money to keep flowing.  Meanwhile, the news media and you, the voters, are kept in the dark.  We call on the Alabama Senate to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.  Show us the money.

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