Statement of Chellie Pingree Opposing HR 1316, the Pence-Wynn bill

Representatives Mike Pence (R-IN) and Albert Wynn (D-MD) are pushing a phony reform bill that will undo much of the good resulting from the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002. BCRA banned soft money – huge, unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and wealthy people – that went to the national political parties. And it eliminated the scandal of the President, and leaders in Congress trolling shamelessly after this big money.

BCRA’s soft money ban has made a difference. Even critics have acknowledged that BCRA did not weaken political parties or squelch political debate as feared. Instead, in the 2004 presidential race, we saw the largest increase ever in small donors. This huge jump in small givers to both political parties is vital to democracy, something we at Common Cause care deeply about.

But the Pence-Wynn bill would turn back the clock, and put big money back into the driver’s seat. No longer would political parties be motivated to seek out small donors and engage voters. Instead, it would be back to the bad old days of courting the rich and powerful. We cannot afford to let this happen.

Do our elections belong to American citizens, or only to wealthy individuals and organizations? Congress must defend BCRA and the interests of regular Americans. Congress must kill Pence-Wynn.