The Committee on House Administration (“CHA”) just released a notice for a September 23, 2010 meeting to mark up the Fair Elections Now Act, a legislative proposal to use federal taxpayer dollars to fund congressional elections.
In these times of soaring federal deficits and rising unemployment in the private sector, holding a hearing to discuss how incumbent lawmakers can tap the federal treasury to fund their campaign committees and political ambitions makes no sense to me. It will be interesting to see which lawmakers are willing to return to their districts in these tough economic times to make the case to their constituents that their precise federal tax dollars should be used to fund the lawmaker’s political ambitions.
This legislation is not about preventing corruption or its appearance. Rather, its primary purpose is to further reduce citizen participation in elections by contributing to candidates they support.
It’s also worth noting that corporations are still prohibited from making contributions to candidates, national party committees, and the federal accounts of state and local party committees even after Citizens United. I anticipate that the pro-regulation groups will quickly begin their publicity campaign by declaring that this legislation is needed to reduce the influence of corporations in the election process in the wake of Citizens United. Troubling.
UPDATE: And so it begins. FairElectionsNow.org just published a post entitled, “House Panel To Bring Up Historic Legislation To Reduce Corporate-Financed Elections.” The post also announces that the group will begin a six-figure television campaign supporting the legislation. So it appears the pro-regulation groups are going to pursue a soft money advertising campaign asking Congress to divert your tax dollars to their campaign bank accounts.
I wonder if Fair Elections Now will voluntarily comply with the onerous television disclaimer requirements provided for in the DISCLOSE Act legislation that is being pushed by the same group of organizations. This is a teaching moment for them where they can lead by example and show the regulated community how these disclaimers will work in real life. Unbelievable.