The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Montana’s laws about contributions to state elections has no impact in Washington. That’s the word from Lori Anderson, Washington Public Disclosure Commission spokeswoman.
Montana banned corporations from campaign spending. Washington limits how much they can contribute to candidates, but does not limit how much they can spend on independent expenditures.
Where independent expenditures come into play is mostly in advertising that is not sponsored by either candidate, but can be supportive or opposed to them.
I checked PDC records and most of the independent spending done locally in state legislative races seems to have been done in 2006. Still, 2010 had a fair amount.
In the 35th Legislative District Position 1 race Republican Dan Griffey benefitted from $16,399.79 spent on his behalf, with $13,864.70 coming from the committee Main Street Matters. Kathy Haigh, the Democratic incumbent, had $117.42 spent on her behalf by the Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund. She also had $4,621.57 spent against her by the same organization that supported Griffey.
Main Street Matters was funded primarily by the Washington Affordable Housing Council, the political action committee for the Building Industry Association of Washington.
In 2010 Main Street Matters targeted seven races in five legislative districts, including the Haigh-Griffey race. In three contests the organization spent $13,864.70 on behalf of the Republican and $4,621.57 opposing the Democrat for ads that went out on Oct. 25, 2010. In three races the spending for Republicans matched the money spent against the Democrats, all at $4,621.57. In one race the Republican was credited with one penny more than the Democrat. Main Street won two races in the 47th Legislative District and lost in the five others.
In September of 2011 we ran a Seattle Times story saying BIAW had reconsidered its political activities. Two months later it named Art Castle, former executive vice president of the Kitsap Homebuilders Association, to the same post, something he had been doing on an interim level since the previous April.