Tags: campaign | donation | increase | budget | rider

Budget Rider Opens Door to Million-Dollar Campaign Giving

By    |   Saturday, 13 Dec 2014 02:20 PM

The controversial $1.1 trillion spending bill carries a rider that allows wealthy donors to begin spending more than $1 million each election cycle, after Republicans became concerned about how they will pay for their 2016 presidential convention in Cleveland.

The bipartisan agreement resulted from secret negotiations between Senate Democrats and Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Republicans led by Speaker John Boehner, reports The New York Times. Critics say the provision should not have been included.

"The Reid-Boehner provision to increase by tenfold the limits on contributions to political parties is excessive and also does not belong on this bill," New York Rep. Nita M. Lowey, the House Appropriations Committee's top Democrat, told the Times.

But Democrats say the action was necessary to keep the incoming Republican-controlled Congress from attacking other restrictions on campaign financing.

Sources on both political sides say Boehner's negotiators first made the approach on the proposal, after Republicans last year pushed legislation to remove public funding for party conventions. There were concerns that the GOP would have trouble paying for the convention being held in Boehner's home state, and some feared that the party would have to scale back its plans.

Democrats at first suggested to bring back the taxpayer subsidy for the conventions, but Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the GOP's "overriding concern is that taxpayer money not be used."

Instead, Republicans initially sought allowing unlimited contributions for committees paying for convention hall activities, reports the Times.

And Democrats then proposed allowing national committees to establish convention accounts that would be capped at $20 million to allow larger contributions, but only from individuals. Currently, individuals can write checks for the accounts of up to just $97,200 a year.

Like the Republicans, Democrats are also facing money problems when it comes to their convention.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is deeply in debt from the midterm campaign and a $5.2 million mortgage from last spring, when it needed to buy additional office space.

For the current provision, Democrats demanded that all party committees to be able to solicit large contributions for real estate transactions, but a spokesman for the campaign committee itself said it was not contacted about that plan.

A third provision, sought by Democrats, asked to triple the contribution limits for use for legal costs.

Overall, the new rules take away provisions in the 2002 McCain-Feingold legislation that do not allow parties to raise funds for party building and other efforts.

If President Barack Obama signs the bill, the contribution limits will go to $1.56 million over a two-year cycle.

The changes are the "most corrupting campaign finance provisions ever enacted," said campaign limit advocacy group Democracy 21 in a letter to Obama Friday.

"In a 'bipartisan' unholy alliance, Senator Reid and Senator McConnell joined with House Speaker John Boehner to secretly insert into the Omnibus bill the destructive campaign finance provisions, which were unknown to the public and members of Congress until the day the bill was filed in the House."

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The controversial $1.1 trillion spending bill carries a rider that allows wealthy donors to begin spending more than $1 million each election cycle, after Republicans became concerned about how they will pay for their 2016 presidential convention in Cleveland.
campaign, donation, increase, budget, rider
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2014-20-13
Saturday, 13 Dec 2014 02:20 PM
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