Instead of focusing on jobs and helping working class families, the Republican Leadership is hard at work today creating additional ways in which corporations and special interests can dominate our elections process.
Presidential Election Campaign Fund
Ending the Presidential Election Campaign Fund opens the door for large political spenders to enjoy an even greater role in the funding of political campaigns.
The voluntary public finance system for presidential campaigns was created in the early 1970's as a direct result of Watergate - the largest political scandal of our generation. Stopping corruption and preventing the appearance of corruption is as important today as it was during the Nixon years.
The level of spending by corporations and special interests since the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case should give every American a reason for concern. Do my Republican colleagues really believe that more corporate and special interest money in politics is going to benefit in any way the 99% of Americans who don't have lobbyists?
The current public finance system for presidential elections does have some problems. Most notably, the money available for candidates opting into public financing funding has been outpaced by the cost of running a modern campaign. However, instead of eliminating public financing of presidential campaigns, we should instead try to modernize and fix the system.
I would also point out that the Republican National Committee recently received $18 million dollars from the same fund that Republicans are proposing to eliminate today. If these funds are so objectionable to my colleagues, perhaps they should ask the RNC to return this money.
Election Assistance Commission
I also oppose the elimination of the Election Assistance Commission.
The EAC is the only federal agency solely focused on improving the administration of federal elections. The EAC develops voluntary election management standards and is a voting information clearing house for local election officials and voters.
The EAC was created after the debacle of the 2000 presidential elections. Those of us who were here in 2000 remember how politically tense those weeks were. Over 100 million votes were cast, but it took a decision of the Supreme Court before a winner was declared. That experience left a black eye on our elections process and it is not something America should go through again.
With state and local government budgets facing record deficits, less money is being allocated for the administering of elections. States and local governments are depending on the work of the EAC now more than ever.
Have there been problems at EAC? Yes, there has. Is change needed at the EAC? Yes, there should be. The solution should be reforming EAC and exercising rigorous oversight of this commission to make sure its mission is being fulfilled.
We should not give up on ensuring the integrity of federal elections and improving voter access at the polls. Too much is at stake here.
I urge my colleagues to vote NO on H.R. 3463.
Let's focus on jobs and fixing our economy instead of passing bills that give corporations and special interests even greater influence in our elections.