By an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 95-4, the Senate today approved an amendment co-sponsored by U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) that would end taxpayer subsidies for future political conventions. The amendment, offered by Sens. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mark Udall (D-CO), prohibits the use of funds from the Presidential Election Campaign Funds (PECF) for political conventions occurring after December 31, 2012, and would allow for funds used before that time to be returned to the Treasury in order to pay down the deficit.
"I'm pleased that members of both parties came together on a bipartisan basis to approve this common sense legislation," said Senator Ayotte. "With our staggering $15.8 trillion debt, Americans shouldn't foot the bill for partisan political events."
Under current law, Americans may choose to divert $3 of their federal tax returns to the PECF, which helps pay for the costs of political conventions every four years. Federal law places relatively few restrictions on how this money is spent, with the bulk of funds used for entertainment, catering, transportation, and hotel and lodging costs. For example, according to the Federal Election Commission, during the 2008 Republican Convention in Minnesota, $885,279 was spent on lodging. At the Democratic National Convention that year, $942,000 was spent on catering. Both political parties each received $18.3 million in taxpayer funds to pay for the costs of the upcoming Republican and Democratic National Conventions in August.