Gavel Grab

Pared-Back Public Financing Plan Before West Virginia Senate

A state Senate committee pared back a House-passed bill to make permanent a public financing program for West Virginia Supreme Court candidates. The revised version would extend the program through 2016, when the next Supreme Court elections are held.

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the legislation after concerns were expressed about adequate funding for the program, the Associated Press reported.

To learn more about the legislation, see Gavel Grab. The pilot public financing program for judicial elections was adopted after West Virginia became a poster child for campaign finance reform advocates, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2009 ruling in Caperton v. Massey.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled then that a West Virginia Supreme Court justice could not participate in a case involving a coal company whose CEO had spent $3 million to help elect him. The high court said the “probability of bias” violated an opposing litigant’s right to a fair, impartial hearing.

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