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House Votes To Remove Taxpayer-Funded Program For Presidential Campaigns

January 31, 2011 by  

House votes to remove taxpayer-funded program for presidential campaignsThe House of Representatives has voted to eliminate the Federal public financing system that helps fund presidential campaigns and political conventions.

The chamber approved the measure by a vote of 239-160 on Jan. 26, the same day that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced a similar bill. An estimate from the Congressional Budget Office reveals that ending the program would save taxpayers approximately $617 million over the next decade.

The voluntary public financing system was created in 1976 following the Watergate scandal in an effort to lessen corporate influence on political campaigns. Americans can check a box on their tax returns, which directs $3 to the program.

Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who sponsored the bill, said that even though the contribution is optional, it is obsolete. According to Bloomberg, Internal Revenue Statistics show that the percentage of taxpayers who contributed to the fund in 2007 was 8.3 percent, down from 28.7 percent in 1980.

In 2008, President Barack Obama became the first major-party candidate to turn down money from the public election fund. However, Obama and many Democrats strongly oppose the GOP's efforts to eliminate the fund because they believe that it will boost the presence of special interest groups.

"The bottom line is the system isn't now much used," Thomas Mann, a congressional scholar, told ABC News. "It's not workable. It's outdated."

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  • s c

    This is an idea whose time has come. However, let’s make it easy. Make politicians campaign on the radio and via personal appearances. Keep the vermin OFF all TV channels.
    Limit personal ‘contributions’ to $10 per household, and all corporate ‘donations’ to $50. Just because Americans tend to BUY politicians doesn’t mean we ever get a bargain in the process. What has the best government that money can buy done for America? NOT ONE DAMNED THING, THAT”S WHAT!

    • Doc Sarvis

      Not bad ideas though I would say eliminate all corporate donations. I don’t understand why corporations should have any say in our elections.

      • TIME

        So you would support that George Sorus could not fund Barry nearly $500 Billion dollars as he has stated he will give Barry to run in 2012?

        How about Unions Doc, would you also support that Unions could not give aid to Political figures?

        How about radical groups would you also support that they could not give funds to any political figure?

        Thats all seems quite fair to me, how about you?

        Also just to make it fair rather than years at running for office they have only six months to do so. Would that be fair Doc?

        • Doc Sarvis

          My preference
          Sorus, an individual, $10. The Koch brothers (the Tea Party backbone) $10 each.

          Unions, “radical groups” or groups of any sort, not individual persons – no money allowed.

          As for the amount of time a person can “run”, as long as they can finance themselves I don’t see why that would be regulated. That comes down to free speech whether one is “running” for something or not.

    • http://yahoo Fred Hammel

      I agree , but we should limit how much money they can spend on being elected or relected.
      Eliminate the war chest of incuments to a level playing field. This would eliminate the need for term limits.

    • will lowery idaho Constitutionalist and tea party activist

      i agree with your statement about making the polititions talk on more on “face to face” meetings WE THE PEOPLE than on the telivision, because the liberal media has taken effect on this great nation. nation wide news hits more points on (offensive word removed) in kenya dancing with our president than how they are taking “life, liberty, and property (later reformed to—the pursuit of happiness now written in our nations sacred documents)”

      sorry off topic…. i do that alot….. but where was i, oh ya. the fact of the matter is that yes people in house holds should be able to give limited donations like we have been able to(i wont say dollar ammount because its truely falling faster in value than any news station cares to provide) i believe also that major political contributions should be made too(polititions raise the economy quite a bit when they campaign)but the fact that any corporation can donate any ammount desired is wrong. that is why politics has gone down the toilet…

      my name will
      my corporation by title:XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
      my contribution: big $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
      my corporation created with partner x instead of soleproprietor: big $$$$
      partner x’s soleproprietor corporation: $$$$

      that list of partners and sole proprietors is true and extremely deathly because with every corporation comes enough money to start another without enough time to commit to the books there. so you let your brother be your partner. well brother gets rich. opens his own corporation….. brothers usually like the same political party and when one buys a politition the other wants that power just as well.

  • Kinetic1

    This system may be outdated, but I’d rather see more attention paid to eliminating public and corporate donations altogether. I’m not saying that s c’s idea of limiting funding is wrong, but given the cost of running for office I’m afraid these limitations would make them even less effective then they already are. Last time I checked it takes around $10,000,000 to make a run for the House or Senate, and $100,000,000 to $150,000,000 to become President. Just look at those numbers! How much time do you think our representatives waste raising money?

    Why do we need to watch misleading ads? Wouldn’t we be better served by having candidates stick to publicly funded debates where their opponent could address accusations, true or false? Do we really need representatives who are beholding to large corporate interests? They way it looks to me, the fundraisers and media sources make out like bandits, the corporations and other wealthy donors get favorable treatment, and the rest of us are just throwing our money away. I wonder what percentage of our donations go to pay for fundraising?

    Look, we already have public television stations, so why don’t we use them for a public good. Let the networks do what they do best and save us some money. Anyone with a tv or radio and an antenna can get a public station, so let’s do away with the paid advertising and limit all campaigning to public interviews and debates.

    • Kim

      I agree, Kinetic, it would certainly level the playing field. I noticed though, in the last election, that our incumbent congressman, Dan Boren (D) repeatedly refused to debate his opponent, Dr. Charles Thompson. One would think that, in itself, would send a red flag to Oklahomans in this district, but they’re so behind in their thinking (read that “hillbillies”), they didn’t even bat an eye. This country is all screwed up!

    • barbm

      the problem is, the media doesn’t have to invite all candidates to a debate – just the dems and reps. that leaves out a lot of qualified people who are independent thinkers.

  • 5StarTexan

    My thoughts on the matter are this: Candidate should not receive any monies or funding from any source whatsoever-not taxpayer program, no corportations, no fund raising dinners or programs, no money from anyone!! This will make it easier to spot backroom deals and corruption. They will have to use their own sources and this would level the playing field for candidates that do not have money. The MAIN way for them to campaign would be that all media sources are required as a community service to give free of charge each candidate an equal alotted amount of time on their radio station, television station, and space in written media-newspapers magazines, etc. Equal time free of charge. Same stage setting, same everything, so each candidate gets a fair chance to present his cause and reach all markets. Fair and square. Free internet ads and websites….equal amount……equal forum for all candidates without collection of money from big corporations or foreign governments–no monies from anyone and each candidate’s bank accounts would be monitored!!! Since they are campaigning for a public office the public should monitor their activities. Since radio, tv, newspapers are public media, then they should be required to do this public service. The candidates should have to present themselves without the news media making any reports on any of it. No slanted news reports!!!!!!!

    • Kinetic1

      I don’t totally disagree with you, but I can’t help but feel that you have missed a couple of things.
      First, Newspapers and Magazines are not public media. The Government does not subsidize the costs of printing or salaries. Cable and the Internet are still considered semi private as well, thus the lack of regulation on “foul” speech and images. Only in Television and Radio does the government have something that they control for the public. We allow Radio and Television stations free use of the airwaves and, in the past required stations to show their public support in order to renew their license to use the airways. Now days the FCC seems to let everyone but the public stations slid on by, but they still command public ownership of the airwaves.

      Second, If you allow each candidate to use their own money, then the rich will continue to have a leg up. You can always say that every candidate must be offered equal time, but will you also provide the travel? Are we to expect a little station in a rural area to produce a response and send it to New York for broadcast in response to a wealthy candidate who is flying all over to get his word out? And it still does not stop a candidate from lying about his opponent. Only when the opponent can respond in an immediate manner can effects of these lies be reduced. That’s why I feel that debates are the only honest way for candidates to get their positions out. No more “Willie Horton” moments. No more questions about how real ones military service was. If you want to make claims like these, you’d better have proof in hand because your opponent is right there to dispute them.

    • rick c

      that is an idea ,but… wouldn’t the gov. have to create a whole new dept. to police that ? how much would that cost us and could they be bought off ??? i dont trust em ,any of em !

  • newspooner

    Do you remember when it was party-designated? You chould check off Republican or Democratic or American or whatever other party got enough votes in the previous election to become qualified. Guess what happened. So many people checked off American that the Republicans and Democrats felt threatened, so they changed the system to make it “non-partisan”. When the socialists find that their own laws aren’t working as planned, they just change them, even if they have to break the law to do it. This whole public funding scam was just another reason (like EPA, OSHA, China recognition, wage controls, etc) why Nixon was one of the most evil Presidents.

  • Norm

    Taxpayers paying for election campaigns is another bad use of taxpayer money. But having “big money” from the private sector control elections is downright evil. Maybe having all contributions made to a common fund, which would give all candidates equal access to the media, is a fairer way to evaluate office seekers. In truth, there is no win-win answer.

  • Mike

    The amount of money that each candidate can spend, should be limited. Each should spend only to a maxium limit approved by Congress.
    This would level the playing field and allow each canidate to spend the same amount of money. This way money will not controll the election outcome.
    This should happen in all elections.

  • eddie47d

    If this election check off is outdated and used by few then maybe it shoud go. The same should be said about giving Corporations “person hood”.That was also supported by few so will it stand? Unending amounts of money from Soros or the Koch brothers is hardly the answer either.

  • tim

    If it dropped that far it just goes to show that we don’t want any of you running.

  • Patriotic says

    Mike my sentiments exactly.

  • Dan az

    Let them put their adds or promotions on the internet and answer to the people through blogs.If they want our votes then show us what they believe in and show us their birth certificates unlike the fake one that this monkey showed us.Its time for them to start listening to the people.If we dont like what they are saying we can show them the door.

  • http://com i41

    Between ACORN or any other corrupt democrat Soros 527 will keep raising money for the marxist muslim moron, no matter what is done since the are looking at 1 billion dollars. Everyone is still waiting for the Nazi Soros Socialist followers, to inform us how they can think this traitor a leader. Of course they eected the marxist muslim moron who follows the world worst dictators and beleives in a dictator run country would be the best for USA. All socialists support the UN and its mandates, starting with banning private land ownership, total gun control, world courts, population controls, and one world currancy. Check the facts all you soros socialist party pukes. Since the purple lipped muslim is backing the muslim brotherhood and shipping loads of these s–t brained pedophiles into the USA, he must be hoping for some roiting in the USA for martal law and make him a life time dictator.

  • johnrt

    Corporations have no individual/personal voting rights and hence should have no rights relative to funding any candidate. Nor should they be permitted to lobby. Our Supreme Court made a critical error in their judgement that basically favors monopolistic corporations and the wealthy few. Under our Constitution, individual voters have every right to support a candidate they favor and technically should be able to financially support them if they desire to. Granted this gives the wealthy an advantage, but that is the way it is in a democracy and a free enterprise system. The only way to make everything equal is through a government funded election in which each qualified candidate receives the same amount of funding and no one can donate anything to any of them. This equalizes the playing field for anyone who wants to run for office. However, this is precisely why the Republican controlled Congress voted to eliminate the taxpayer funded program. They know they have it made when monopolistic corporations and a wealthy few control our democratic process.

  • http://LibertAlert Tim

    HA! What has the Democrat party to fear from ‘special interest’ groups? The Democrats are THE PARTY of special interest groups!

  • Carmel

    Do like they do in England. The English government gives each candidate the same amount of money, TV time, etc. And they are given only 6 months to do their bidding. I’m sick and tired of the unfairness in the U. S. the way our presidents are selected. Don’t like it at all and something should be done about it. It is my understanding that the impersonater is going to have over one billion dollars to run in 2012. What a disgrace this country has turned into in practically all facets of their agenda. Most corrupt administration I’ve seen in my 78 years of living on this earth. Seems like the top echelon think they are above the law. This government we have now is a tyranical government not civilized at all. I see a Revolution coming this way only I believe it could possibly be a violent one like Egypt is experiencing as I write this.

  • James

    Attention all constituttional dim-wits: Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, and Amendment XII, requires that “Each state shall appoint…a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives…The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President…The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President,…The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President shall be the Vice-President.”
    There is no constitutional provision whatsoever, for the President and Vice President to be elected by a popular vote PERIOD!


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