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DC Public Trust FAQs

DC Public Trust FAQs

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Published by: sylvia-brown-8017 on Mar 26, 2012
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03/26/2012

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Initiative 70
 
“The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012
 Frequently Asked Questions
Paid for DC Public Trust, M. Mindy Moretti Treasurer.A copy of our report is on file with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.http://dcpublictrust.org | @dcpublictrust
1.
 
What is an “initiative?” How is it different from a “referendum?”
An initiative is a process by which District of Columbia voters can propose a new lawthrough the ballot. A referendum is a process by which DC voters can repeal a lawthrough the ballot.Initiative 70, “The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012,”
 
 proposes a new D.C. campaign finance law through the ballot.
2.
 
What does Initiative 70 propose to do?
 
Initiative 70, if passed, will prohibit corporations, limited liability companies(LLCs) and partnerships from making a direct political contribution to:
 
Principal campaign committees (i.e. candidates for office, including incumbents)
 
Exploratory committees
 
Legal defense committees
 
Transition committees
 
Inaugural committees, or 
 
Constituent-service programs
3.
 
Will Initiative 70 curb “pay-to-play” in D.C. politics?
Initiative 70 won’t solve every campaign finance issue. However, it does strike at theheart of the most troubling issue—the distortion of the policy-making process by theability of large corporate donors to hand thousands of dollars to grateful incumbents.
 4.
 
Will Initiative 70 prohibit corporations and other business entities from makingcontributions to District of Columbia political action committees (PACs)?
 No, Initiative 70 does not change corporations’ and similar entities’ First Amendmentconstitutional right to engage in independent political advocacy.
5.
 
Will Initiative 70 prohibit corporations and other business entities from makingindependent expenditures (i.e. engaging in political advocacy independently of anyD.C. candidate or committee)?
 No, Initiative 70 does not change corporations’ and similar entities’ First Amendmentconstitutional right to engage in independent political advocacy.The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision
Citizens United v. FEC 
does not impactInitiative 70.
 
 
Initiative 70
 
“The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012
 Frequently Asked Questions
Paid for DC Public Trust, M. Mindy Moretti Treasurer.A copy of our report is on file with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.http://dcpublictrust.org | @dcpublictrust
6.
 
Why doesn’t Initiative 70 include labor unions
?In D.C. elections, unions have historically participated in political advocacy throughindependent expenditures, such as mailing their own materials and organizing their own canvassing schedules. When unions do contribute to local D.C. candidates, theygenerally only contribute to the individual contribution limit.Initiative 70 is specific to D.C. political practices and based on our practices andhistory unions were not included in the measure.
7.
 
If approved by voters, could the Council of the District of Columbia overturnInitiative 70?
Unfortunately, yes. District law allows an initiative approved by voters to beoverturned by the Council. However, the founding principles of the resident-led D.C.Committee to Restore the Public Trust is to make a clean break from the past andkeep up the pressure that our District officials answer to us—the people they areelected to represent.
8.
 
Would D.C. be the only jurisdiction to ban direct corporate campaign contributionsto political candidates and candidate committees?
 No, D.C. would join more than 20 states that ban direct corporate campaigncontributions to candidates and candidate committees. Since 1907 federal electionlaw has prohibited corporations from donating directly to candidates for federaloffice, including U.S. Congress and President of the United States.
9.
 
How many signatures are needed for Initiative 70 to get on the November 6 GeneralElection ballot?
Based on voter registration statistics, Initiative 70 needs about 23,000 registered voter signatures from across the city to qualify for the November 6 General Election ballot.
 
Signatures are due July 9, 5:00 p.m. at the DC Board of Elections and Ethics in order to qualify for the November 6 General Election ballot.
10.
 
Assuming Initiative 70 qualifies for the November 6 General Election ballot, whenwould I get to vote on it?
Initiative 70 will appear on the November 6 General Election ballot, assuming therequired number of qualified D.C. voter signatures are gathered. The initiative will bevoted on city-wide.
 
 
Initiative 70
 
“The Prohibition on Corporate Campaign Contributions Initiative of 2012
 Frequently Asked Questions
Paid for DC Public Trust, M. Mindy Moretti Treasurer.A copy of our report is on file with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance.http://dcpublictrust.org | @dcpublictrust
11.
 
Who can circulate a petition to put Initiative 70 on the November 6 General Electionballot?
Any registered D.C. voter may circulate a petition to put Initiative 70 on the November 6 General Election ballot.
12.
 
Who can sign a petition to put Initiative 70 on the November 6 General Electionballot?
Only registered D.C. voters can sign the petition to put Initiative 70 on the November 6 General Election ballot.
13.
 
What information do I put on the petition?
The petition will request the registered voters’ signature, name, address, date andWard in which s/he lives. The DC Board of Elections and Ethics will use thisinformation to verify the voter is registered in DC.
14.
 
Does the voter’s signature have to be legible? What if the handwriting is messy?
Voters should do their best to sign the petition as clearly as possible. If the signatureis messy and/or illegible AND some other information on the petition is missing or hard to verify, the Board may disqualify the signature. The purpose of the signature isto provide the DC Board of Elections and Ethics with enough information to verifyvoter registration.
15.
 
What if I recently moved
within
the city? Which address should I put on thepetition?
You should put your new address on the petition.Then, as soon as possible, choose one of the following options to file your updatedaddress:
A.
 
call the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics at 202-727-2525 to request achange of address form;
B.
 
visit https://www.dcboee.org/voter_info/reg_status/ to complete the OnlineVoter Registration form; once you have completed the Online Voter Registration form you will need to print it out, sign it, and mail it to the D.C.Board of Elections and Ethics; or 
C.
 
visit the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics at 441 4th St., NW Ste. 250N andcomplete the paperwork in person.

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