NASHVILLE — Tennessee corporations will be able to able to contribute directly to political campaigns under a bill going to Gov. Bill Haslam.
The House voted 65-20 for the measure, brought by Republican leaders and already passed in the Senate, that will allow companies to contribute the same amounts as political action committees.
Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, called it a free speech issue and said 28 other states have similar laws.
But House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said, “We don’t need more money in our political races.”
He said corporations are different from PACs and unions, which collect donations from individuals.
The bill also raises contribution limits for all by retroactively adjusting limits for inflation going back to 1996. That is expected to raise the ceiling by some 40 percent.
For example, contributions by PACs would increase from $7,500 to $10,700 and continue to be adjusted upward for inflation in the future. Corporations would be treated the same.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...