With Must-Pass Budget Battle Looming, Senate Republicans Aim to Sneak in Anti-Campaign Finance Riders

  • Jack Noland
<p>Flickr – Gage Skidmore</p> (Mitch McConnell)

Flickr – Gage Skidmore

(Mitch McConnell)

‘Tis the season for must-pass budget measures. In order to avoid another government shutdown, Congress must approve a trillion-dollar spending bill by December 11. As POLITICO reports, Senate Republicans, led by longtime campaign finance reform opponent Mitch McConnell (R-KY), are considering attaching a host of riders to the budget bill, including some that would weaken federal campaign finance regulations.

Of particular concern are measures to gut transparency of money in politics and one that would allow political parties to spend at will in coordination with specific candidates. Both measures are incredibly misguided.

The first rider would prevent the president from mandating that federal contractors reveal their political spending and a separate measure would preclude agency rulemaking by preventing the IRS from crafting new regulations on dark money and banning the SEC from requiring corporations to disclose political spending. This is a brazen attempt to stealthily undermine political transparency efforts that have widespread support and that would vastly improve public confidence in an accountable government.

The second rider would allow donors to divert large donations through the parties—with their higher annual donation limits—and around the stricter individual contribution limits, rendering those limits all but meaningless. Such a move could make it more difficult for candidates not backed by the parties to compete, which is why House conservatives find themselves in league with congressional Democrats in opposing the establishment GOP rider, according to the National Journal.

We need reforms to the campaign finance system that empower Americans to participate in their democracy, rather than ill-considered maneuvers that would give the well-connected even more opportunity to finance the candidates of their choosing.