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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 359, Eliminating Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Elections

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I don't like to reference the Republican chairman of the Rules Committee, Mr. Dreier, because he did leave the floor. But he made a couple of statements that I have to comment on.

First of all, he said that this Republican initiative is about creating jobs. Nothing could be further from the truth, in my opinion. I've watched as the Republicans have been in the majority now for about 3 or 4 weeks, and they're not doing anything to create jobs. And this certainly doesn't create jobs.

And then Mr. Dreier said that there can be no corporate contributions under the current law. Well, the Citizens United case clearly says that there are unlimited corporate contributions, and that's the problem. Rather than having public financing of campaigns--which this legislation would eliminate--we're going to have more and more corporations just spending millions and millions of dollars to finance campaigns. And that's what this is all about.

This is the Republicans basically catering to special interests and the large corporations who will spend unlimited amounts of corporate money on campaigns, and not having in this case a public financing component through voluntary largely small donations.

Now, I have to say this is a system that we have now that's been in place since Watergate. It was a reform that Democrats and Republicans used, a reform of a very bad system that the Watergate scandal showed was not the way we should go. And I agree that the system needs to be updated, but it should be changed to meet the needs of today's elections that are costing more, and more primaries, and the focus should be on small donations, not getting rid of small donations.

But what we see instead is the Republican majority eliminating the system altogether and making Presidential campaigns more susceptible to what I call outside influence.

We saw the effect of the Citizens United case in the past election, where corporations and special interests poured money to sway the elections in their favor. With disclosure requirements almost nonexistent, we have no way of knowing whether foreign corporations or entities were contributing to the elections. And we have to question whose side the new Republican House majority is on.

Unfortunately, it appears that this is just another attempt by the Republicans to support their special interest friends and big corporations who have an unfair and undue influence on our electoral process.


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