For Immediate Release
Unlimited Corporate Spending in Elections – And Now No Public Financing to Boot!?
House GOP Moves to Bolster Special Interest Funding of 2012 Presidential Elections
WASHINGTON - Public Citizen roundly condemns the latest sneak attack by GOP
leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives to terminate the
presidential public financing program and give special interests even
more influence over American elections than they already have.
On the anniversary of the infamous Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
decision - a ruling that corporations may spend unlimited funds in our
national, state, local and judicial elections - House Republicans
introduced H.R. 359, a bill that would end public financing of
presidential elections, beginning with the 2012 election. The
legislative proposal, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), is being
whisked through the legislative process with no hearings and no
deliberation for a floor vote as early as Wednesday.
"A vote for H.R. 359 is a great way to tell the American people that
you want to give corporations more power over our government rather
than make democracy work for ordinary Americans," said David Arkush,
director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch division.
Only in recent presidential elections has the public financing
system grown outdated. Until the 2008 presidential election, all major
party candidates agreed to accept the same amount in public funds to pay
for their general election, resulting in challengers defeating sitting
incumbents about half the time since 1976. Barack Obama was the first
candidate to opt out of the public financing program in the general
election, though other candidates have opted out of public financing in
Legislation has been drafted to repair the presidential public
financing system, which was introduced in the last congressional session
by Reps. David Price (D-N.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). At the same
time, a public financing program for congressional elections gained
strong momentum in the last Congress.
"Make no mistake about it: The Republican leadership's legislation
to eliminate public financing is an attack not just on the presidential
public financing system, but also an attack on congressional public
financing proposals," said Craig Holman, governmental affairs lobbyist
for Public Citizen. "To ensure that the public's voice can be heard
against the corporate onslaught, we need to expand public financing of
elections, not kill it."
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1971 to represent consumer interests in Congress, the executive branch and the courts.