The coming special election to fill the D.C. Council seat of Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser will be the first to test restrictive new campaign finance laws passed by D.C. officials last year. The D.C. Council adopted regulations that take effect Feb. 1 and include new disclosure requirements and limitations on donations from affiliated businesses as a means to increase transparency and accountability in campaign finance. The most lauded change in the law closes the District’s so-called “LLC loophole” by restricting campaign donations from affiliated companies, including limited liability corporations. Business owners traditionally could skirt the city’s maximum campaign contribution limits by donating multiple times to a candidate through different LLCs, which were not recognized as being affiliated even when they were owned or operated by the same people.
But because the upcoming Ward 4 special election is unlikely to take place until April or May, campaigns will straddle the change in law— raising the question of whether candidates will follow the new regulations from their start or only after the policy becomes official.
Anyone who registers a campaign ahead of the change would still legally be able to collect donations from related LLCs until Feb. 1, said Wesley Williams, spokesman for the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance. All other changes in law, including requirements that campaign treasurers take finance training and that all finance reports be filed online, would similarly only apply to campaigns beginning Feb. 1.
Full Article: Special Election to Operate Under New Finance Laws « CBS DC.