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Public Statements

Terminating Presidential Election Campaign Fund and Election Assistance Commission

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I rise in opposition to the bill.

Instead of focusing on jobs and helping middle class families, the Republican leadership is hard at work today creating additional ways in which corporations and special interests can dominate our elections process. Ending the Presidential Election Campaign Fund opens the door for large political spenders to enjoy an even greater role in the funding of political campaigns.

The voluntary public finance system for Presidential campaigns was created in the early seventies as a direct result of the corruption of Watergate, the largest political scandal of our generation. Stopping corruption and the appearance of corruption is as important today as it was during the Nixon years. The level of spending by corporations and special interests since the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United should give every American reason for concern. Do my Republican colleagues really believe that more corporate and special interest money in politics is going to benefit in any way the 99 percent of Americans who don't have lobbyists?

The current public finance system for Presidential elections has problems. Most notably, it has not kept pace with the cost of modern campaigns, so we should fix it instead of eliminating it. And I would note that the Republican National Committee recently received $18 million from the fund, so if the Republicans think it's such a bad idea, perhaps they should ask the RNC to return the money.

As for the Election Assistance Commission, the EAC is the only Federal agency focused on improving Federal elections. This was an outgrowth of the disastrous process of the 2000 election. Remember, 100 million votes were cast, but it took a decision of the Supreme Court before a winner was declared. The experience left a black eye on our elections process. It's not something America should go through again.

As State and local budgets are cut, the value of this commission is going to grow.


Ms. ZOE LOFGREN of California. Have there been problems at the EAC? Yes, there have been problems. What should we do about it? We need oversight and reform. We shouldn't just abolish this commission because we are going backwards to the bad old days of inconsistency among voters. I urge my colleagues to focus on the economy, focus on jobs, and don't pass bills that give corporations and special interests even greater influence in our elections.


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