In a letter sent today to Senators, reform groups strongly urged members of the Senate to support AND CO-SPONSOR the Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act introduced today by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which would essentially shut down individual-candidate Super PACs.

Similar legislation (H.R. 425) has been introduced in the House by Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The groups included the Brennan Center for Justice, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Issue One, League of Women Voters, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, and U.S. PIRG.

According to the letter, “The Leahy bill would define coordination between a candidate and a Super PAC to include the elements that establish the close ties that generally exist between a candidate and the individual-candidate Super PAC supporting the candidate.”

The letter stated:

The explosive growth of individual-candidate Super PACs is one of the most dangerous developments to result from the Supreme Court’s destructive decision in Citizens United.

As a practical matter, these Super PACs function as an arm of the candidate’s campaign they   support. They raise and spend unlimited contributions and serve as vehicles for donors and the candidate they support to circumvent and eviscerate the candidate contribution limits enacted to prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

Individual-candidate Super PACs fundamentally undermine the integrity of the Nation’s campaign finance laws. Almost every major party presidential candidate in the 2016 presidential election has an individual-candidate Super PAC that is raising and spending unlimited contributions to support their candidacy.

The letter noted:

Expenditures coordinated with a candidate are treated by existing law as also constituting contributions to the candidate. Thus, the new coordination rules, once applicable, would limit the amount an individual-candidate Super PAC could spend on behalf of the candidate to the amount a PAC can contribute to a candidate, or $5,000 per year. This would have the effect of shutting down the individual-candidate Super PAC.

According to the letter, the bill would also “strengthen the general rules prohibiting coordination between candidates and other outside spending groups.” The letter stated:

The legislation would define as coordinated expenditures any payments for campaign communications made by a person pursuant to any general or particular understanding with the candidate or the candidate’s agents, or made by a person based on discussions with the candidate or the candidate’s agents regarding the communications.

The letter concluded:

We strongly urge you to support and co-sponsor the Leahy bill and thereby support protecting the integrity of the federal anti-corruption candidate contribution limits.

                             

 

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