Fair Elections Group: Omnibus Bill Would Invite More Secret Money Into Elections

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The good-government non-profit Common Cause is urging lawmakers to “keep government open while forging (a) new deal on spending” as members of Congress mull an Omnibus bill it says contains provisions that will only invite more secret money into political coffers.

Common Cause President Miles Rapoport said that if Congress can’t pass a clean omnibus appropriations bill, it should “go back to the drawing board and pass a resolution to keep the government open while it crafts a new omnibus bill without ideological riders or giveaways to wealthy special interests.”

Rapoport continued:

“Americans deserve a normal budgeting process. The backroom negotiations that spawned this budget “compromise” also produced riders that will bring more secret money into the 2016 elections and perpetuate media monopolies that are gradually choking local broadcast coverage of campaigns.

He mentioned one rider that he said “invites political operatives to continue funneling hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed sources into a handful of sham, nonprofit ‘social welfare’ organizations, blocking the Internal Revenue Service from drawing bright line rules that might limit that practice.”

Rapoport said another rider blocks the Securities & Exchange Commission from requiring public companies to disclose their campaign spending.

“Over one million Americans, including many institutional investors, have filed comments urging the SEC to move forward on this rulemaking. Americans overwhelmingly support disclosure because they understand it would let them hold politicians accountable for the sort of special-interest horse-trading that has resulted in this bill,” he said.

Rapoport continued:

“Finally we’re disappointed that the deal includes a grandfather clause that lets broadcasters off the hook from complying with a Federal Communications Commission order aimed at reducing local media monopolization.

The omnibus proposal keeps the government’s lights on in exchange for more secret money in politics. Ideological riders should be off the table.”

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