West Virginia is one of over 20 states affected by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. The state used to ban corporate political expenditures. Now its ban is gone.
West Virginia completed its 60-day legislative session this weekend without adopting a new set of protections for shareholders after the Senate failed to act. However, the legislature did adopt improved disclosure and disclaimer rules for corporate spending by passing HR 4647.
The bill requires detailed disclosure requirements for all independent expenditures costing $1,000 or more. Contributors that provided $250 or more for such independent expenditures will be disclosed. These filings with the state will be posted on-line so that the public will know who is funding campaign ads.
Furthermore, there is improved “stand by your ad” disclaimer provision in West Virginia that requires political advertisers to clearly identify the person or entity making the expenditure(s) for the communication within the ad itself.
Both of these provisions will inform West Virginia voters about who is bankrolling political ads in the post-Citizens United world. The bill is awaiting the governor’s signature.