Bill putting $100K cap on loans to campaigns clears House committee

A bill that limits local and statewide candidates’ from loaning their campaign more than $100,000 was approved by the House Local Government Committee Tuesday, reports The Tennessean.

Sponsored by Rep. Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), HB1770 would not take effect until next year, after the current campaign season that has already seen at least four gubernatorial candidates loaning their campaigns more than $100,000. The bill would still allow candidates to make direct contributions to their campaigns in unlimited amounts — just not loans subject to being repaid afterwards, which sometimes occurs if the candidate wins.

“I think the conversation is (have) our campaigns become an auction rather than an election,” said committee chairman Rep. Tim Wirgau, R-Buchanan.

Wirgau pointed out previous version of the legislation had already been overwhelmingly approved in the House. The bill stalled in the Senate in 2014, which Dunn blamed on politics related to another bill.

“I think everybody knows that its become obscene how much money is being spent on campaigns now,” Dunn said.

… The Senate version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, has yet to be taken up in committee.

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