(Host) The Republican candidate for secretary of state, Michael Bertrand, says he opposes most of the provisions of Vermont’s new campaign finance reform.
The law, which is being challenged in the federal court system, limits the size of campaign contributions and also includes spending caps for all statewide and legislative races. Because of the litigation, the spending caps have not been imposed for state elections.
Speaking Tuesday night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Bertrand said he viewed the new law as a restriction of free speech:
(Bertrand) “I have concerns whenever government attempts to limit political speech and Act 64 as passed by the Vermont Legislature is the most ambitious attempt by a state government in the history of the United States to limit political speech. And I think if James Madison, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington were around, they’d be looking not too fondly upon that law.”
(Host) Incumbent Democrat Deb Markowitz supports the law because she thinks it will help boost voter turnout in the state:
(Markowitz) “I do support it, although I think that we need to tinker with some things. Like the spending limits now I think are unreasonably low, given the change in our media market. But the basic principles – the fundamentals behind it – I think are great. I think once we have spending limits and we don’t have the influence of big money in politics, we equalize the playing field and I think it makes great sense.”
(Host) The two candidates did express their support for legislation that would allow the secretary of state’s office to conduct more of its official state business on the Internet.