Democracy 21 joined the Campaign Legal Center in strongly urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to reject the request from the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) seeking to undermine the existing federal limits on contributions to national political parties established in the wake of Watergate. The watchdog groups filed comments on the FEC’s draft responses to Advisory Opinion Request 2014-12, where the national party committees seek permission to raise funds for party conventions under a separate contribution limit.
In response to the Advisory Opinion Request filed by the RNC and the DNC, the FEC produced two alternative draft advisory opinions. The comments filed by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 strongly support Draft A which concludes that raising convention funds under a separate limit is clearly prohibited by federal statute and under existing FEC regulations. The comments strongly condemn Draft B’s assertion that convention committees can be considered separate “national committees” with their own contribution limits on the basis that this view is not only contrary to the law, but is based on misrepresentations of previous rulings by the FEC. The comments go on to warn that such an advisory opinion from the FEC would lead to a proliferation of ‘separate’ national committees that could be utilized to skirt existing contribution limits on a massive scale.
According to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer:
This advisory opinion request by the Republicans and Democrats is absurd and should be rejected out of hand. The request seeks to establish the ability for parties to accept additional contributions beyond the limits on contributions to parties enacted by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court. This is an Alice in Wonderland approach that asks the FEC to make believe the campaign finance laws do not say what they say.
Republicans and Democrats are claiming that the requested extra contributions to the parties beyond the law are necessary to fill a vacuum created by the repeal of public funding for the national conventions. This brings to mind the son who killed his parents and pleaded for mercy on the grounds he was an orphan. Republican leaders in Congress joined with President Obama to eliminate the public funds for conventions. Now the Republicans and Democrats are seeking mercy for this dastardly act by asking the FEC to invent out of thin air the ability for Republicans and Democrats to raise contributions above the party contribution limits. There is no way this can legally happen.
The RNC and DNC Advisory Opinion Request was filed after repealing the federal funding for national party conventions that had been in place for more than four decades as a part of the post-Watergate campaign finance reforms.
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