White House Opposes House Bill To Eliminate Public Financing Of Presidential Campaigns
January 26, 2011 at 4:14 AM (PT)
A bill by Rep. TOM COLE (R-OK) to end public financing of presidential campaigns is expected to come to a vote TODAY (1/26), but the WHITE HOUSE is saying that it opposes the proposal, HR 359, opting to fix rather than eliminate the system that offers matching funds for primary campaigns, including radio and TV advertising. The Congressional Budget Office's analysis of the bill said it would save $617 million over a decade.
In a statement defending the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, Pres. OBAMA's office said that eliminating public financing would leave candidates beholden to large donor or special interest support but, "Rather than candidates having to rely on raising large sums of private money in order to run, the (present) system provides qualifying presidential candidates with the option of accepting matching funds in the primary and a public grant in the general election. It has done so at minimal cost to taxpayers, who fund it by voluntarily choosing to direct $3 of their federal taxes to this beneficial system."
COLE has called the Fund "the very definition of frivolous WASHINGTON spending. We’re not talking about investing in our infrastructure or spending money to improve the lives of average Americans. This program pays for political party conventions and to prop up the candidacies of presidential hopefuls." Candidates often opt out of the matching grant system in order to be free of fundraising caps, and OBAMA himself raised $745 million for his campaign after opting out.