WH 'strongly opposes' GOP bill to dismantle system of campaign financing
January 25th, 2011
03:09 PM ET

WH 'strongly opposes' GOP bill to dismantle system of campaign financing

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A Republican-backed bill to halt public financing of presidential campaigns and conventions is coming under fire from the White House.

In a strongly worded statement, the Office of Management and Budget said the House bill, known as H.R. 359, would "expand the power of corporations and special interests in the nation's elections," and that it would "force candidates into an endless cycle of fundraising at the expense of engagement with voters on the issues."

"The administration strongly opposes [the bill]."

The current system was put in place in the wake of the Watergate scandal as a way to avoid private influence in the public process.  It took the pressure off qualified presidential candidates by giving them the option of accepting matching funds and grants.

But Republicans who have been pushing for more spending cuts see an opportunity to save money, to the tune of $520 million over the next 10 years.

Presidential candidates would be more dependent on private donations instead of taxpayer money.

While the White House said this 1970's era system does need to be modernized, the OMB insisted it should be "fixed rather than dismantled."

"This is not the time to further empower the special interests or to obstruct the work of reform," the statement said.

Republicans, who control the House, are scheduled to vote on the legislation Wednesday. If it passes there, it's unlikely the Democratic-controlled Senate would follow.

Topics: President Obama • The News

soundoff (44 Responses)

    I don't see a dog gone thing wrong with it. It will keep our tax dollars from winding up in the Obama campaign through donations from welfare checks.

    January 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Magnus

      You sir are an idiot.

      January 25, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • ELo

      This comment is idiotic....plain and simple

      January 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm |

      @ TOTAL FACTS, you are an enemy of the Constitutional guarantee of free elections.....You are free to move to Iran.....You just don't get it....

      January 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Jack

      Idiotic, but unfortunately representative of those garnering the most attention now. Shame on the press for stoking these thoughts by not challenging the openly "just say no" republicans and even the provocative comments of the tea-partiers. They're all idiots, destructive and frankly unpatriotic in my book. These "dissenters" are the same guys who blasted anyone who questioned the so called "just war" in Iraq.

      January 25, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • C B

      TOTAL BS

      January 25, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Michael

      Troll (or John Roberts?)

      January 25, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  2. unhanon

    That's right, lets make our electoral system *even more* vulnerable to corporations, unions, foreign governments, or whoever else can come up with $$$. This would only add to the giant misstep that the SC made last year regarding organizations and political speech.
    And by the Republicans – $520 Million over 10 years is essentially chicken feed right now. Don't try to say that this is a financial issue. It just isn't.

    January 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  3. Republklans are IDIOTs

    Why even allow the American people to vote in an election?....the SCOTUS under the activism of conservative judges have deemed US corporations as citizens!

    Republiklans in congress are already in lockstep with their "activist judges brethren" in selling out the US elections to big corporations and Wall Street fats Cats with this bill under the guise of cutting spending....America is on sale to US & CHINA big corporations!!!!

    January 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Elections are the one thing that should be EXCLUSIVELY a function of government. No fundraising, no election lobbying, period. If we want to improve the quality of our leaders, we have to improve the quality of our electoral process.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • ProudDem

      Kevin, well stated.......We should actually have no donations except individuals and all TV stations should be required to provide an equal amount of air time for candidates to state their platforms. No negative ads – only solutions. Let the best ideas win.....

      January 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  5. Indy

    Republicans would like nothing more then to have elections run by corporate donors like insurance companies. This is bred into Republicans and they like to take their orders from corporations and do everything they can for corporate America while screwing all middle class people.This has nothing to do with cutting spending and everything to do with finishing up the Bushe/Cheney corporate takeover over of American politics. It is everything but jobs for Republicans and they lied their way back into the house and it will cost Americans dearly for voting them back in.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  6. michael

    Why don't we just let corporations run for office and get it over with – they own the politicians any way – when you need 50 million to run for US senate then you sold your soul for cash

    January 25, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • gb0423

      agreed...you can't get elected in this country without selling yourself out

      January 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
  7. DIANA

    How about getting rid of the stupid law the Supreme Court imposed? No, your rich buddies wouldn't be able to buy your election if that were repealed. Yes, I know only the Supreme Court could change that law.

    Thank God the Senate is still Democratic.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Nikki


    January 25, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  9. Edith

    Not unlike the case now in the courts seeking privacy rights for corporations as "persons."

    January 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  10. Jack

    I really cannot understand why anyone wants to let the country be so clearly put in the hand of the corporations. History has shown (as recently as 3 years ago) what happens. The general public gets twisted and turned to think that what's good for business must be great for the rest of society. This will again lead to a mess.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx


    January 25, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  12. Phil in KC

    Sure, let's do away with public financing and let all the special interests pay for the elections. Then, if they make it public, we'll know exactly who bought and paid for the politicians. Oh wait, they couldn't make such sensitive information public....

    January 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm |

    I for one will NEVER allow corporate wealth to run this country, not without taking a stand. IF the GOP does this, they are enemies of individual freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and we will effectively ALL become SLAVES. Anyone who votes for this is a traitor and needs to be treated as such. Do not sell them food, do not treat them medically, shun them in public, for they are the enemy. Run them out of the country......

    January 25, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  14. GL

    Republicans = the devil. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy sound like Republicans to me.

    January 25, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Anne

    Jobs, jobs, jobs! What does this have to do with jobs? Came in on false pretense again. Will we ever learn.

    January 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  16. CaliforniaBC

    Once again the republican Party has forgotten about history and the REASONS for the laws and policies we have now. Did anyone in this group have a high school civics class??

    January 25, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  17. Mercker

    The sooner the democrats can get a old rich white guy with a southern draw, the sooner we can get back to fixing this country. I think Obama is doing the best he can in the situation he is in. But he is simply not white enough for people to except. So as long as he stays in the white house, nothing significant will happen. Sad but a lot of people will knowingly believe in lies , just to shield them from Obama. TIME TO GROW UP!

    January 25, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  18. Marko

    ....and the Rad Right 5 of the Supreme Court is sitting there with their big catchers mitt calling for the repubs to pitch that bill right into them for them to make a ruling on.

    January 25, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  19. Michael

    Of course the republicans want this. It's another example of greedy rich and corporations getting exactly what their Citizens United dollars paid for.

    January 25, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  20. Jay in NC

    Remember the headlines in June 2008.

    - Democrat Barack Obama announced he won't accept public financing for his presidential campaign, calculating that he can raise far more than the $84.1 million he'd get in government funds.

    Now the Liberals are crying over no public funding of elections. You all need to compare notes before you start complaining. As of now you sound like John McCain in 2008.

    January 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  21. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Jay, I remember him saying he would not accept the 'government monies' that were set aside just for campaigning. I can't seem to remember the name of that fund, but that was the money that the then candidate OBAMA turned down. McCAIN accepted it. I remember it seemed every one was angry that OBAMA didn't take it. He chose to run his campaign using his 'grass roots' supporters contributions and his own personal money. No 'government issued' funds. I think he did himself good by taking a chance on the public!

    January 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • ProudDem

      @ Liz,

      I agree, BUT that was before Corporations were endorsed to own the government....Wow, reverse Communism????? The State is OWNED by the businesses, not the other way around. CEO's, non-elected officials, control the elected officials like puppets. We all get to see the show and then get shown the door to the out house when we complain.

      January 27, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Jay in NC

      Liz, by not taking public money Barry could raise any amount from anyone. He has never disclosed all of the contributions for the 2008 campaign. We do not know who contributed the most or how much. (maybe Harpo?) According to Barry he did not use any of his own money. Senator McCain, on the other hand, reveal everything.

      Late in 2008 a partial list of Barry's largest corporate contributers was published. It includes some very large corporation.
      University of California $1,591,395
      Goldman Sachs $994,795
      Harvard University $854,747
      Microsoft Corp $833,617
      Google Inc $803,436
      Citigroup Inc $701,290
      JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
      Time Warner $590,084
      Sidley Austin LLP $588,598
      Stanford University $586,557
      National Amusements Inc $551,683
      UBS AG $543,219
      Wilmerhale Llp $542,618
      Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
      IBM Corp $528,822

      Senator McCain largest corporate contribution was Merrill Lynch at $373,595 for less than Barry's.

      It is clear that Barry accepted far more money from corporations than Senator McCain.

      TOTALS Here are the total contributions for 2008

      Individual & co. $199,275,171
      PAC $1,407,959
      Candidate self-financing $0 0%
      Federal Funds $84,103,800

      Individual & co. $656,357,572
      PAC $1,830
      Candidate self-financing $0
      Federal Funds $0

      January 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
      • ProudDem

        @Jay in NC – actually, there are many mis-statements in your claims.
        1) The disclosure of all donations and expenditures is regulated by law and reported at the Federal Election Commission. Those reports and all data are available at http://www.fec.gov. Do you have information that donations were not reported, or is that your conjecture?
        2) Yes, Oprah donated – $7500.00. I searched the database above.
        3) Interestingly, GW Bush and John Kerry also rejected public funds in the 2004 election.
        4) To state that "obviously" BO took more corporate money is ludicrous given your parochial statement of contributions. Are you saying that is ALL of the money donated to each candidate by corporations? People would be naive to believe only one corporation donated to McCain.

        Jay, you're obviously someone looking to spin the data. BUT, doing so in a way that distorts facts is Anti-American as it serves only to undermine our democracy......I request you stop being an enemy of free elections.

        January 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  22. Jay in NC

    You are the one that is spinning or as you would say 'Anti-American'.

    1) The fec.gov numbers published are for contributions only through 06/30/2010. You are omitting at least 6 months of contributions. All data is not available. Your claim is not true.

    Donations and expenditures are regulated by law and that is exactly why Barry did not have to report all the contributions. It was not required since he did not accept public money!.

    2) Harpo also donated to PAC, committees, state level for Barry. $7,500 is not the total.

    3) I have not suggested that I agree with President Bush or Kerry. This is irrelevant.

    4) I said "Senator McCain largest corporate contribution was Merrill Lynch..." You really have to spin it to say that 'largest' means 'only'.

    It is ironic that you would call someone Anti-American to squelch debate.

    II stand by my statements.

    January 27, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • ProudDem

      @ Jay in NC,

      1) I have been a treasurer on a state representative's campaign, and what you are seeing is the result of filing calendars. You do not issue up to the minute reports except in periods immediately prior to elections wherein contributions above certain limits must be immediately disclosed. By the way, which is it, he never disclosed all of his contributions from the 2008 campaign, or is it really the data ends 6/30/10? I also contend if you read the filing laws, ALL contributions must be disclosed regardless of taking public money or not.

      2) You may or may not be correct. I would need to review to see if a person search for donations in support or opposition of a candidate are reflected regardless of which committee they donate to. ALL registered committees must disclose donations above a set threshold. BTW, the same is potentially true for ALL candidates who run for offices. In the NYS BOE database, a contributor name search is all encompassing regardless of candidate. I invite you to actually conduct a search instead of assuming. I at least have a basis for my claim.

      3) It is not irrelevant when you make a claim that singles out one candidate w/o identifying that multiple candidates from both parties have used similar strategies. A real debate enters facts for consideration, or giving consideration to all the facts, simply decides there is not basis for debate in the first place and refrains from comments that are open to rebuttal, such as yours was.

      4) You stated your monetary figures with a long list below Obama's, but only one for McCain and then stated your conclusion of "It is clear that Barry accepted far more money from corporations than Senator McCain.". YOUR statement, not mine. Logical thought dictates you have concluded your arguments for consideration, and your theory is based on a single set of data because you do not reference any further data, and therefore, your evidenciary claims are concluded. Thus, one reaches the conclusion you are illogical in your position. I assume that given your change in positions on item 1 that you will similarly follow with a flip-flop on this as well.......

      As for squelching debate by my claim of being Anti-American, to the contrary. It is an observation based upon your own claims, and now seeing your inability to debate this without changing your story or admitting error initially, it only strengthens my view. A failure to have a debate based on REAL data and facts further diminishes democracy because someone will actually read your data and be sucked into your dream world, thereby tainting their vote.....Therein lies the basis of my claim about you.....

      In closing, you may stand by your statements, but may I inquire which ones those may be? It seems you have a shifting view of reality....

      January 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        It would be interesting to know just who you worked for. I am sure that that representative would not like it that you called someone "Anti-American". Maybe we can do some digging around and find out.

        January 28, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        "By the way, which is it, he never disclosed all of his contributions from the 2008 campaign, or is it really the data ends 6/30/10? " You like to spin and cast doubt don't you? The two statements are mutually exclusive of each other. Both can be true. So much for trusting your opinion.

        January 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
  23. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @ProudDem; Honestly, I don't know much about the rules of reporting campaign contributions, but I'm glad you're here to debate Jay, because, you're exactly right this kind of misinformation is taken in by people like myself, who hadn't studied the rules! They take what appears right and truthful, and run with it to the bank! And Yes, it does affect or infect the mindset of voters! ESPECIALLY IF THEY ALREADY HATE OBAMA! You're the professional and I believe you know your business! Thanks, ProudDem! YOU GO!

    January 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      Liz my friend. You and I have debated these issues for a long long time. I know that you know that I research thoroughly and that I have been willing to correct my post if I misstate a facts. Please do not get suckered into believing that ProudDem is a 'professional.' On the web anyone can claim any thing. No one believes my name is Jay and your name is probably not Liz Carter, at least I hope it is not. Too many strangers, and the web is not always a safe place.

      I hope you and I could agree on one thing that Just because someone does not agree does not make them 'Anti-american.'

      January 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
      • ProudDem


        My candidate trusts my opinion and beliefs, that is why he entrusted his financials with me. I am a professional. In fact, I'm an engineer by degree, having been accepted to enter the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate (NUPOC) program before deciding on a private sector position. I have over 25 years of large scale program management responsibilities.

        Given the laws require disclosure of all contributions and expenditures (above a legal threshold mind you – they won't disclose little Johnny's piggy bank contribution of $10 – it will become "unitemized"), I still have not heard any claims to factual basis for claiming the 2008 contributions weren't fully disclosed. -– Democracy 1, Jay 0 --–

        As for a continuing debate, I doubt it will do much good. As Liz already observed, if you already hate Obama, for whatever reason, then you're pre-disposed to find facts that support your hatred. That you take that personal opinion and spin (YES, SPIN) it into an indictment of the sitting, legally elected President, is well, ANTI-AMERICAN.

        I am finished debating you. You will invariably claim to be right and that I couldn't beat you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Debating you further would be fruitless, as you're unwilling, or unable, to have a debate based on reality.

        Liz, thanks for the words of support. I have been able to convert many ultra-conservatives into thinkers through debate and proof points – truth and facts. One considered Obama a public enemy when I started. He now realizes he was dealt a crap deal by YES – GW GUSH and thug buddy Dick Cheney. He now researches ALL hate e-mail he gets because he knows there are ANTI-AMERICANS who simply sling half truths and outright lies to taint elections.

        The time to act is now on fixes to our problems. Far too many are living only to argue, not be part of the solution. Americans fix problems, Anti-Americans whine and try to influence elections.....

        January 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  24. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Jay, my friend I have admitted that I was wrong, didn't know, wasn't unaware and apologized! And yes, we've gone back and forth in debate, but honestly, I do find you mosttimes, unwaveringly hung up on 'facts', when I believe we all should be hung up on 'truth'. For me, facts are only believable as true, when they ARE the truth! People list facts to meet their own desired ends! When wisdom, common sense and truth often squashes 'facts'! You have a set of facts and ProudDem has a set. I'll just pick one now!

    January 28, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  25. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Jay, You are right about the web not always being a safe place! For what I believe and to voice my opinion, I'll take the chance! You hope my name wasn't what I say it is! Well it is my name, I don't hide behind pen names and handles. That maybe okay for people who like to throw rocks and hide their hands! I'm not one of those; I guess I can simply say, I'm not that scary about my feelings and what I blog! Oh, I did think your name was Jay! So you are one of the strangers you speak of I guess. That's fine!

    January 28, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  26. Liz Carter in Georgia

    About the 'ANTI-AMERICAN' label being referenced back and forth, it's not unheard of, is it? The PRESIDENT of THE UNITED STATES has been unfairly and unjustly called an ANTI-AMERICAN! There are many anti-AMERICANS living in AMERICA! One is always labeled anti-AMERICAN when they callenge the status quo; whether it be on religion, race, gender, civil liberties, etc, especially politics! Just talk about change or revision you're pinned a communist, marxist, terrorist; you're ANTI-AMERICAN!

    January 28, 2011 at 9:38 pm |
  27. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @ProudDem, thank you for your obviously, most experienced, knowledgeable, well-rounded, and substantiated defense of PRESIDENT OBAMAS' campaign financial contributions report! I wasn't intelligent enough to debate that one! BTW, you are welcome!

    January 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm |