Not content with the loosened campaign finance rules made possible by Citizens United, the GOP is attempting to pass a stealth provision that would open the big money floodgates even further. Republican leaders added the measure at the last minute to the so-called "CRomnibus" spending bill now under consideration in Congress.
"A provision tucked deep inside the $1.1-trillion spending bill filed by Republicans on Tuesday night would dramatically increase the amount of money a single rich donor could give to national party committees each year -- from $97,200 to as much as $777,600. The provision, inserted as a rider to the bill only hours before it was filed, would mark a further erosion of campaign cash restrictions."
The provision was hidden on page 1,599 of a 1,603-page bill. NBC News reported
that House Speaker John Boehner, "along with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (both) pushed for the campaign finance measure, according to an appropriations committee aide."
In a statement, campaign finance reform leader Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) put the blame where it belongs. "We're seeing a preview of the Mitch McConnell Senate," said
"He's attempting to drastically expand the influence of the wealthy and well-connected without even introducing a bill, holding a hearing or allowing a direct vote. By tucking this into a 1,600-page funding bill, Mitch McConnell is essentially saying 'auction off our democracy or I'll shut down the government.'"
Act right now
to tell your members of Congress to reject this deal, which would further increase the corrosive influence of big money on our democracy. You can send them a quick e-mail
using this tool provided by Public Citizen:
The Hill's constantly updated whip count
for this bill shows opposition growing among Democrats and even some Republicans. Observers agree
Speaker Boehner needs a substantial chunk of House Democrats to support the spending bill in order for it to pass.
The House is expected to vote
on the spending bill sometime on Thursday, with the Senate facing a midnight deadline to pass it. Republican leaders have said they would offer a substitute spending bill to fund the government through January if the CRomnibus is rejected.
Another measure in the bill would give taxpayer subsidies to Wall Street derivatives trading, as first reported
by the Huffington Post. The office of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called
the deal a "Wall Street giveaway."
On Wednesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) urged
Senate Democrats to oppose the spending bill, denouncing it as "a giveaway to most powerful banks in this country."
"This is a democracy, and the American people didn't elect us to stand up for Citigroup, they elected us to stand up for all the people," she said on the Senate floor.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said
Democrats are "deeply troubled" with the bill's measures. On Wednesday, Pelosi declared
, "These provisions are destructive to middle class families and to the practice of our democracy. We must get them out of the omnibus package."
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and other House members -- including Reps. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Donna Edwards (D-Md.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) -- issued a joint release calling for the provision to be removed or else they would not support the bill."
An amendment offered by Rep. Deutch to remove the campaign finance provision from the CRomnibus spending bill was not adopted in a House Rules Committee hearing on Wednesday night.
Take five minutes today to e-mail and call your members of Congress. Tell them to reject this blatant attempt to allow the super wealthy to buy more elections!
(Article changed on December 11, 2014 at 08:24)
(Article changed on December 11, 2014 at 09:01)
Erik Ose is a writer and political activist who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and micro-blogs at latestoutrage on Twitter. He is the author of When Harvey Met Jesse: Attack Ads of the 1990 Gantt-Helms U.S. Senate Race in North Carolina, (more...)