One hopes that Gov. Haley Barbour and state legislators will be able to work out a meaningful compromise on campaign finance reform in time for this year’s judicial races.
In late May, the governor vetoed legislation that had received significant bipartisan support and was championed by Secretary of State Eric Clark and Attorney General Jim Hood. In a statement, Barbour said that he supported the bill’s “disclosure requirements adding openness to our political process.” But, because of “last-minute language inserted in the bill during conference that chills open, publicly disclosed political participation,” he was “forced to veto the whole bill because of a problem with only part of it. “
Strong campaign finance laws and enforcement are needed to protect the system from manipulation by a few wealthy interests pursuing an agenda that boils down to their own narrow concerns, not necessarily those of the people of Mississippi.
As this issue of the Mississippi Business Journal went to press, there were a number of options open to the governor and the Legislature that could lead to reasonable — and necessary — improvements in the state’s campaign finance law. We’re hopeful that common ground will be found on this important public policy issue.