Family Contributions Should Be OK (1/19/10)
Current Kentucky law prohibits anyone other than a candidate from spending more than $1,000 in a state election. But it doesn't specifically address whether a candidate may receive much larger financial gifts from family members and then apply that money toward their campaign.
That ambiguity caused Metro Councilman Jim King a lot of headaches when he gave his daughter, Katie, a gift of $135,000 that she used in her judicial race, and he was subsequently fined.
Now, State Representative Larry Clark has filed a bill in Kentucky's legislature that would clarify that issue, specifically prohibiting gifts such as King's.
But if the current law is really so ambiguous as to need fixing, doesn't someone maybe owe Jim King an apology? And a refund? How can you break a law that doesn't specify what it prohibits?
But the bigger question is: Should the law prohibit the kind of contribution Mr. King made? What's wrong with a father contributing as much as he wants to his child's political campaign? Are we really worried that a candidate – once elected – would be more influenced by a parent who made a big donation to his campaign than by one who didn't?
I see nothing wrong with contributions such as the one Jim King made, and I think they should be legal.
But what do you think? Call and let us know.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my…Point of View.