Watchdogs ready to spend cash in order to restrict cash


The Disclose Act is not the only campaign finance bill kicking around on Capitol Hill. The less-heralded Fair Elections Now Act has 157 supporters in the House and 21 in the Senate – still far from enough for a shot at passage. Now two public interest groups are going to spend in hopes of forwarding the anti-big-money political spending.

Common Cause and Public Campaign are pooling resources for an $8M-to-$15M advertising effort they call the Campaign for Fair Elections, designed to get as-yet uncommitted Democrats to sign on to the legislation. (In the House, only three of the 157 co-sponsors are Republicans.)

“For too long, Congress has paid too much attention to the special interests funding their campaigns,” said David Donnelly, campaign manager of the Campaign for Fair Elections. “It’s time we had a government that worked for working Americans, not a corporate-funded system that leaves everyday Americans without a voice in politics. That’s why we need the Fair Elections Now Act.”

Target markets include Seattle WA, Denver CO, Tallahassee FL and, of course, Washington DC.

The thrust of the bill is to provide $4 in federal matching funds for every $1 a politician raises via contributions of $100 or less. The hope is that it will negate the need to seek large donors. It would be an opt-in program.

One exec from a research company providing underpinning data for the campaign said that the belief that the bill was something only rank-and-file Democrats could love is incorrect. “There is a conventional myth that Republican voters are opposed to campaign finance reform, but this research shows that Republican voters, like all other voters, believe our system of electing representatives is irreparably broken,” said Mark McKinnon, director of McKinnon Media. “Republicans believe in giving people more control. That is precisely what this data reflects, and it’s precisely what the Fair Elections Now Act does.”

RBR-TVBR observation: This sort of stands an old adage on its head – instead of “ya gotta spend money to make money,” in this case it would be “ya gotta spend money to prevent the excessive spending of money.”