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Local Businesses Skirt Campaign Finance Laws


Corporate influence on elections has been a hot topic in recent months and years, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision that allows businesses and labor unions to spend unlimited amounts to influence campaigns. Advocates for open government and campaign finance reform have decried the ruling, saying it leads politicians to cater even more to corporate interests. But in Indiana, large corporate contributions and lax campaign finance laws are nothing new.Unlike most states, Indiana has long allowed individuals and political action committees to donate unlimited amounts of money to local and statewide political campaigns. Corporations are limited to donations of $5,000 or less to most candidates, but there are ways of working around that law. And in the event a company does break the law, the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office has little ability to find the violation until months after the election is over. For today’s WFHB feature exclusive, correspondent Joe Crawford takes a look at how one group of local businesses got around the state law and, in a some cases, completely disregarded it.

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