Negative campaign bill filed by Mitchell

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 17, 2007

Sen. Wendell Mitchell (D-Luverne) is sponsoring a bill that would eliminate negative advertising campaigns during an election year in the state of Alabama.

Mitchell made the announcement during a press conference on Thursday. He has entitled the bill the &#8220Comprehensive Campaign Reform Act of 2007.” The proposed legislation also would eliminate PAC to PAC transfers of campaign funds, restrict the amount of funding PACs and individuals can contribute to politicians, and require all write-in candidates to register with the Secretary of State's office 90 days before an election.

However, the meat of the bill deals specifically with what Mitchell terms as &#8220unfair political campaign activities.”

&#8220It is regrettable that we have to resort to the passage of laws to make people who seek to be public servants conduct themselves properly in a campaign,” he said. &#8220But the trend toward more and more negative campaigning and false advertising is so strong that we are now forced into taking steps we can to curb this trend.”

Mitchell said prior to his re-election to the Senate in November he promised his district he would tackle campaign reform. Mitchell defeated Republican challenger Joan Reynolds, but called the Greenville businesswoman's advertising campaign against him &#8220negative, false, and misleading.”

&#8220To many candidates, politics has become a game,” he said. &#8220Their goal is to win at all costs and in their minds the end justifies the means. The Alabama electorate is tired of candidates conducting their campaigns in this manner, and their feelings were expressed loud and clear in the election this past November.”

The bill would prohibit the publishing of false statements about a candidate, his or her voting record, or the candidate's educational background, among other items outlined in the first section of the bill.

Penalties for violating the act would include a fine of up $1,000, disqualification from the office sought or held, or jail time up to a maximum of six months.