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Bill requiring campaign switchers to give back money stalls for now



A bill requiring political candidates in Arkansas who switch races to return the money they have already raised was temporarily pulled by the sponsor Tuesday (Feb. 9), partly because of concerns about its coinciding with Lt. Governor Tim Griffin’s announcement Monday that he was switching from the governor’s race to the attorney general’s.

Senate Bill 82 by Sen. Jonathan Dismang, R-Beebe, would require candidates to return money to contributors within 30 days after the end of the month when they withdraw from a race, and they could not use that money to run for a different office.

Contributions would have to be returned based on a pro rata division of their remaining funds based on what has been collected and spent. Candidates who could not determine the source of a contribution would donate it to the state treasurer, a political party, a party caucus, a nonprofit, or a city or town.

Dismang argued before the Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee that current law already requires candidates to return campaign donations when they withdraw from a race. The bill would clarify what happens when a candidate then enters another.

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