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Mayor Questions Legality Of Campaign Finance Measure, Threatens Veto

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Mayor Tom Henry has responded to a campaign finance reform measure passed by Fort Wayne City Council in late November.

The measure, proposed by Republican councilmen John Crawford and Jason Arp, aimed to limit contributions to political campaigns from contractors bidding on projects in Fort Wayne to $2,000 per year.

Crawford said there haven’t been any instances of impropriety; the purpose of the proposal is to improve transparency and close a loophole that could be seen as suspicious.

When passed on November 28 by a 6-2 vote, city spokesman John Perlich said a veto from the mayor was on the table. In a letter to City Council Thursday afternoon, Henry commended the intent of its effort, but also confirmed the possibility of a veto.

He says he’s concerned with a number of factors in the measure. Notably, whether or not it violates the state and federal constitutions and the Home Rule Act which, according to Henry, limits the legal capability of local governments to place restrictions on campaign finance.

Henry cited legal opinions of four local firms as the basis of his concern. He says he’ll return the measure to council unsigned, and asks they revisit the language and address legal concerns noted by the firms and in the letter. City Council’s next meeting will be Tuesday, December 12.

Henry’s full statement, as well as the legal opinions from each firm, can be read on the City of Fort Wayne’s official website.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.
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