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Opinion | I applaud the Tennessee Senate - including the GOP - for taking a stand on transparency | Otis Sanford

ABC24 political analyst and commentator Otis Sanford shared his point of view on a transparency bill on Tennessee campaign funding.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This is rare for me. But I must give credit to Republicans in the Tennessee state senate for actually doing something to bring more transparency to how money is spent on political campaigns.

The senate on Thursday passed a bill that would require the identities of certain non-profit groups and individuals who spend more than $5,000 dollars on campaigns within 60 days of an election. That took a bit of courage since most of these groups spend money supporting Republican candidates and Republican causes. Equally impressive is that the GOP-supermajority senate passed the bill by a 25 to 3 vote – despite heavy criticism from some of these groups.

Frankly, I’m not surprised that groups such as Americans for Prosperity – founded by the Koch Brothers – don’t want us knowing how they spend so-called dark money. But these dollars are impacting elections. That means anonymous individuals are heavily influencing campaign messages and those who get elected, which can easily lead to corruption.

The legislature is currently grappling with a campaign scandal that has resulted in one House member being indicted for fraud. And other lawmakers have testified before a federal grand jury.

So I applaud the Senate for taking a stand. And let’s hope that members in the state House don’t get cold feet and fail to pass this important bill. Voters deserve transparency, and we are entitled to know who is financing political campaigns.

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