McConnell Ploy Would “Blow a Hole” in Campaign Finance Laws

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  • Scott Swenson, Dale Eisman
Statement by Common Cause President Miles Rapoport

“Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cynically reneged on his pledge to restore “regular order” to the Senate. 

“Reports indicate that he is advocating for a policy rider to the omnibus spending deal that would blow a hole in what remains of our campaign finance laws, and allow unlimited coordination between political parties and candidates. Worse, the Washington Post reported on Monday that aides claim a “compromise” would allow unlimited coordination with all outside groups, including Super PACs and other political organizations.

“There’s also a report that McConnell is offering to “sweeten” his proposal with a plan to shift from paper to electronic filing of the fundraising and spending disclosure reports filed by Senate candidates. While the House has used electronic filing for years, Senate reports can still be submitted on paper, forcing news organizations and other analysts to convert them to electronic form for analysis.

“Electronic filing would be welcome but it should not be purchased by further turning the reins of our democracy over to the very wealthy few. And that, sadly, appears to be McConnell’s real objective.

“Just as appalling, however, is the process McConnell is using in his attempt to sneak this into law. Under “regular order,” such a fundamental change to a core pillar of our campaign finance laws would require a hearing and an opportunity for public comment and debate. Instead, McConnell is trying to slip the change into a “must-pass” omnibus spending bill, with the threat of a government shutdown just hours away.

“Congress must reject any efforts to use the omnibus spending bill to attach ideological policy riders, including those that would gut longstanding campaign finance laws.”