House to Vote on Ending Public Election Financing

Wednesday, 30 Nov 2011 10:00 AM

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The House will vote this week on bill to end the 35-year-old program of publicly funding presidential primary and general election campaigns. The measure would end the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account, The Washington Post reported.

Under Rep. Gregg Harper’s bill, any money left in the fund would be used to reduce the deficit. The money comes from taxpayers who voluntarily contribute $3 of their federal taxes to the fund.

The Mississippi Republican’s proposal also would pull the plug on the Election Assistance Commission. Republicans long have sought to terminate that panel, which was established under the 2002 Help America Vote Act, contending that it has fulfilled its purpose, the Post noted. Democrats disagree strongly.

The public financing system was created in 1976 but has fallen from favor among top candidates in recent years because of limitations placed on spending. President George W. Bush declined the money during his primary runs, and President Barak Obama declined the money during his general election campaign in 2008, the Post reported.

Taxpayers also are turning away. The number of choosing to contribute dropped from nearly 20 percent in 1990 to less than 7 percent in 2010, the Post reported.

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