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Congresswoman Betty McCollum

Representing the 4th District of Minnesota

Congresswoman McCollum's Statement on H.R. 5912- Amends the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions.

September 19, 2012
Statements For the Record

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 5912. This is a misguided bill that repeals public financing of our national political conventions and allows moneyed special-interests to complete their corporate buyout of America’s electoral process.

Public financing of both Democratic and Republican conventions, created in 1976 following the Watergate scandal, was designed to establish a safeguard against corruption in the political system by reducing the emphasis on fundraising in presidential campaigns and diminishing the influence of wealthy special interests. In recent years, the need to modernize the system for today’s campaign environment has become evident, but the system remains as critical as ever to the integrity of our democracy – especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs. FEC ruling.

The disastrous Citizens United decision that unleashed nearly a billion dollars of corporate funding into the Presidential race has demonstrated how essential it is to restore and uphold the integrity of our elections. Passage of H.R. 5912 would only serve to further undermine this integrity by enabling secretive Super PACs and billionaires to take full control of our political conventions, a critical component of America’s electoral process. Furthermore, public financing plays a vital role in helping state and local governments offset the costs associated with hosting national political conventions. These costs may include property taxes, parking accommodations, and local law enforcement funding. H.R. 5912 is unfair to the municipalities that have the honor of hosting these important national events. 

The financing system for political conventions must be repaired, not repealed, to better serve the interests of the American people and protect against corruption. 

I urge my colleagues to oppose this legislation and yield back the balance of my time.