The enclosed letter was sent today to Senators and Representatives urging them to oppose efforts to restore the party soft money system or increase party contribution limits.
The reform groups include Americans for Campaign Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Demos, League of Women Voters, Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG.
According to the letter:
Our organizations strongly urge you to oppose efforts to either repeal or increase the limits on contributions to the political parties and the limits on the aggregate amounts that an individual can give to parties and candidates.
The letter stated that, “Either action would provide dangerous new opportunities to buy and sell influence in Washington and to corrupt government decisions and federal officeholders.”
The letter noted that the party contribution limits are already extremely high:
Currently, an individual can give $61,600 (and a couple, $123,200) to a single national party committee in a two-year election cycle. An individual can give an aggregate total of $117,000 (and a couple, $234,000) in a two-year election cycle to all party committees and federal candidates. The aggregate limit includes two sub-aggregate limits: an individual can give a total of $70,800 (and a couple, $141,600) to all party committees and can give a total of $46,200 (and a couple, $92,400) to all federal candidates during a two-year election cycle.
The letter stated:
The letter stated that instead of any changes in the party contribution limits, Congress could provide parties with the lowest unit rate benefit to purchase TV time. The letter said:
The letter further noted:
Our organizations believe comprehensive reform of the campaign finance laws is essential. In this regard, legislation should be enacted to close the gaping loopholes in the campaign finance disclosure laws, to repair the presidential public financing system and to create a new system of public financing for congressional races that would encourage greater citizen participation.
The letter also noted the corrupting dangers of returning to the political party soft money system banned in 2002:
According to the letter:
This corruption problem would exist regardless of whether the unlimited contributions were used by the parties to pay for campaign ads, “sham” issue ads, voter mobilization, administrative costs, building funds or any other expenditure. The problem is not what the money is used for, but the fact that Representatives and Senators would be directly soliciting for their parties six, seven and eight-figure contributions from donors seeking influence over government decisions.
The letter also pointed out the “especially dangerous problem” that would result from repealing the aggregate contribution limits on the amount an individual can give. According to the letter:
The letter concluded:
We believe it is essential not to make the dangerous campaign finance problems facing the country far worse. We strongly urge you to oppose any efforts to increase or repeal the limits on contributions to parties and thereby increase the ability of federal officeholders to sell and donors to buy influence over government decisions.
Attachments: (1 total)
Letter to Senators/Representatives Size: 101 kB