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National Journal - Reform Groups Trying to Preserve Presidential Public Financing System

November 30, 2011
In The News

By Andrew Joseph

Eleven reform groups wrote a letter to members of the House today asking them to oppose a bill that would stop public money from going to presidential campaigns and party conventions and terminate the Election Assistance Commission.

The House is expected to vote on the bill -- H.R. 3463, introduced by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) -- Thursday.

The groups acknowledge that the presidential public financing system -- which provides candidates with the funding to run a campaign -- needs to be adjusted "to respond to the increased costs of running a presidential campaign." But repealing it would make candidates indebted to special interest groups, they claim.

"In the aftermath of the destructive Citizens United decision, the financing of the 2012 presidential election is being dominated by bundlers, big donors, Super PACs, candidate-specific Super PACs, secret contributions and the like," the groups wrote in the letter. "This is the kind of campaign money that leads to scandal and corruption."

The groups are supporting a separate bill -- H.R. 414 from Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) -- that "would repair the presidential public financing system to take account of the increased costs of running a presidential campaign and to increase the incentives for small donors to contribute to presidential candidates," the letter states.

The letter is from Americans for Campaign Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters, People for the American Way, Public Campaign, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG.