In a letter sent today to members of the House Administration Committee, a group of 43 organizations and individuals with expertise in governance issues strongly opposed bills being considered tomorrow by the committee to terminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).  (See below for a full list of the signers of the letter.)

The group of organizations and individuals strongly oppose HR 133, a bill to terminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and HR 634, a bill to terminate the EAC.

In the letter, reform groups urged the committee members to reject both bills. The letter said, “At stake is the survival of the public financing system for presidential elections and a commission that plays a vitally important role in standardizing and modernizing election administration.”

Reform groups oppose HR 133 because according to the letter, “It vitiates an important check on special interest money by eliminating public financing for presidential campaigns.”

The letter says, “The current public financing system does not work because Congress never modernized the system to account for greatly increased costs in the financing of presidential campaigns. The system needs meaningful reform, not repeal, and should be updated to accommodate the new realities of campaign fundraising after the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United.

The letter continues, “Big money in elections, especially after Citizens United, is corrosive to government accountability and representative democracy. Now is the time to upgrade our presidential public financing system to empower small donors. Eliminating the presidential public financing system will ensure that the presidency is in the hands of the nation’s wealthiest individuals and special interest groups.”

Reform groups oppose HR 634 because according to the letter, “It would eliminate a resource that is a critical part of the government’s effort to ensure that our elections are fair, efficient, and accessible.”

The letter says, “Established in the wake of the widespread election administration failures in the 2000 election, Congress created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to address serious problems with our voting systems that can suppress voter participation and turnout, including long lines at polling stations and outdated voter registration procedures. The EAC serves every American voter by conducting research, collecting data, and sharing information among elected officials, the public, and interested organizations.”

The letter continues, “In light of the many challenges faced by our state and local election administrators and the serious procedural problems that weaken voter access and participation, we believe that this is a time to reaffirm our commitment to voting rights and fair elections by strengthening the EAC and providing it with the staff it requires to function effectively. HR 634 would eliminate an important tool for improving a voting system fraught with problems and should be rejected. “

The letter concludes: “The presidential public financing system and the EAC are important components of an honest and fair election system that suffer from congressional neglect and gridlock, not from any inherent flaw. Instead of eliminating these important democracy reform tools, members of Congress should work to strengthen and expand our public financing system for presidential elections and provide the Election Assistance Commission with the resources it needs to perform its duties. The problems facing our electoral system demand such an effort to improve the integrity and effectiveness of campaign finance laws and election administration.”

Signers to the letter include:

African American Ministers in Action (AAMIA)

American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote)

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)

Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)

Campaign Legal Center

Center for American Progress

Crescent City Media Group

Common Cause National Organization and State Organizations

CREW

CWA – Communications Workers of America

Demand Progress

Democracy 21

Democracy North Carolina

Demos

Every Voice

Fair Elections Legal Network

Franciscan Action Network

Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda

Issue One

League of Women Voters

Maine Citizens for Clean Elections Action

MAYDAY America

NAACP

NAACP – National Voter Fund

National Council of Jewish Women

Native American Rights Fund

Nebraskans for Civic Reform

Norm Eisen, Former Ambassador, Former chief White House ethics lawyer, 2009-2011

Norm Ornstein

Patriotic Millionaires

People For the American Way

Public Citizen

Represent.Us

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Seth Waxman, Former United States Solicitor General

Sunlight Foundation

United Steelworkers (USW)

U.S. PIRG

Voter Participation Cente

Voting Rights Institute

Wisconsin United to Amend

Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund

Attachments: (1 total)