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Swint says he'll accept no PAC money in Congress race

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Howard Swint, a commercial real estate broker in Charleston, said he will accept no "special-interest donations" to help fund his race as the Democratic challenger to Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

"There's only one special-interest group that I will represent. That is the Second Congressional constituency and our children and grandchildren," Swint said during a campaign speech in Shepherdstown this week.

Swint said he is accepting campaign contributions only from individuals.

A longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, Swint said he plans to stick to his principles, even though it is likely major amounts of outside special-interest money will help fund Capito's campaign.

Those contributions will come partly as the result of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in January 2010 that allows corporations to make unlimited contributions to political campaigns, often anonymously.

"That is wrong," Swint said. "I would support a constitutional amendment limiting the amount corporations or [political action committees] can spend in elections and requiring candidates to reveal their donors."

Swint spoke at campaign events and rallies in Martinsburg, Berkeley Springs and Charles Town, as well as Shepherdstown, during a three-day visit to the Eastern Panhandle.

During his campaign appearances, Swint told supporters that he:

  • Opposes ongoing attacks on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Swint also opposes weakening EPA's ability to enforce the Clean Water Act for rivers such as the Potomac. American Rivers, a conservation group, recently ranked the Potomac as the nation's "most endangered river."
  • Supports the proposal by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to increase the cap for Social Security taxes from $110,000 to $250,000 in annual income, which would make Social Security more economically sound.
  • Opposes the budget proposal by House Republicans, backed by Capito, to issue vouchers to Medicare recipients to cover their health insurance costs. That will lead to increases in health-care costs paid by senior citizens, health-care providers, employers and state governments, Swint said.
  • Supports balancing the federal budget by letting the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for wealthier Americans expire. Swint also supports cutting unnecessary or inflated spending by agencies such as the Department of Defense.
  • Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-345-2650.


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