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Legislature Should Uphold Rules on Fund Soliciting

January 21, 2008
Former State Police Superintendent Jack Buckalew, now a member of the West Virginia Ethics Commission, had it right last year when he pointed out that there needs to be special limits on how organizations of law enforcement officers can solicit funds from the public.

Buckalew, in supporting then-new fund-raising restrictions imposed by the ethics panel, noted that some members of the public may feel special pressure when asked to contribute to organizations such as the West Virginia Troopers Association. “It’s unique,” he said of that pressure, “because they can put you in jail.”

We agree — but apparently, members of the Legislature’s Rule-Making Review Committee do not. They want the full Legislature to approve an order that would rescind several important Ethics Commission limits on fundraising by groups such as the Troopers Association.

One change being sought would allow the association to continue handing out official-looking decals that donors could place on their cars. Another would rescind a requirement that any association of public officials keep records of contributions and how the money is spent.

Buckalew and other ethics panel members were right when they imposed new rules last year. The full Legislature should uphold them and keep the restrictions in place.



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