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Can Campaign Finance Reformers Work With Ken Buck or Rand Paul?

Most Republican candidates who might nab Senate seats tonight don’t look like such good friends of the campaign finance reform community on the surface, but might a few end up lending a sympathetic ear to the cause once in Washington? At least on the topic of donor disclosure, The Washington Post notes that several potential freshman GOP senators have indicated they’re on board:

Rep. Mark Kirk, who could become the next senator from Illinois, said at a recent debate, “I think all of the groups entering Illinois to support my opponent and the ones trying to support me should reveal their donors and be fully transparent.” Likewise, Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck: “I think it is important that people know who is paying for the ads.”

So do we. If Mr. Kirk or Mr. Buck end up in the Senate, we hope that they – and other colleagues will cut off the flow of secret money before even more gushes forth in 2012.

You could make a case for Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul to the list, too, at least when it comes to the issue of barring federal contractors from lobbying or contributing to congressional campaigns.

“What I would do is that for every federal contract, if you sign a federal contract and we pay you, the taxpayer pays you a million dollars, I would put a clause in the contract that you voluntarily accept that you won’t lobby or give contributions,” he told Rush Limbaugh, “because I think it galls the American people that taxpayer money is paid to contractors who take that taxpayer money and immediately lobby for more money.”

And even Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller has been up in arms about a new Super PAC, Alaskans Standing Together, which is spending loads of corporate money from the parent companies of federal contractors to back his opponent Sen. Lisa Murkowski. He’s even gone so far as to file a complaint about the issue to the otherwise loathed Federal Elections Commission.

Does this mean that any of these candidates would back legislation like the DISCLOSE Act in its present form? Probably not, but it shows that while conservative candidates who possess Paul’s libertarian streak might be all for free corporate spending, they’re not for cozy corporatist arrangements either. To the extent that these interests overlap with those of campaign finance reformers, you might yet see some cooperation after all.

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