Reed is right about examining federal spending. The nation is now $14 trillion in debt, and every expenditure should be reconsidered. The DCCC is right that the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case gives corporations a louder political voice.
Here’s a good example of how Democrats and Republicans not only have two different visions and speak two different languages, but live in two different worlds.
The Republican-led House last week voted to end multimillion-dollar federal subsidies for presidential candidates and national political conventions. There was also a measure that would require groups funding political ads to disclose their donors.
You can argue the merits of federal subsidies and the necessity of public disclosure. Or you can characterize the issues in a predictably partisan light, depending on which side of the political prism through which you view the world.
That’s what the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did in dueling emails.
From Rep. Tom Reed’s, R-N.Y., office:
REED VOTES IN FAVOR OF TERMINATING TAXPAYER FUNDING OF CAMPAIGNS AND CONVENTIONS
Congressman Tom Reed voted in favor of HR 359 this afternoon to stop taxpayer funding of presidential campaigns and political party conventions. “We’ve got to closely examine every dollar we spend,” Reed explained. “There is certainly no justification for taxpayers to continue paying for national political campaigns or party conventions.”
From the DCCC:
REPRESENTATIVE TOM REED VOTED TO PROTECT SECRET FOREIGN FUNDS IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS
Putting big special interests before American taxpayers, today Representative Tom Reed voted against a bipartisan effort to require disclosure of foreign countries, companies or individuals donating to presidential campaigns. Last year’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in its Citizens United case gave corporations, including foreign corporations, the ability to influence American elections.
Which is it? As with much in politics these days, it’s a little of both.
Reed is right about examining federal spending. The nation is now $14 trillion in debt, and every expenditure should be reconsidered.
The DCCC is right that the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which allows for unlimited funding in support of political campaigns, gives corporations a louder political voice.
But both are politicking.
The House vote would, according to Reed’s office, “result in savings of $617 million over ten years.” Every little bit helps but, relatively speaking, that’s a very little bit. Also, much of it comes from taxpayer participation, via those $3 check-off boxes on returns, so the actual savings may be less.
Reed didn’t mention the separate House vote, also along party lines, to reject the disclosure provision. On that vote, the DCCC complained: “By opposing a bipartisan effort to make political ad spending more transparent and protect American elections from being bought by foreign interests, Representative Tom Reed has put special interests and foreign corporations before American workers.”
We’re not sure what the DCCC’s preoccupation with foreign interests is, becauase it is special interests close to home that will take advantage — and benefit from — the brave, new, less-transparent world of campaign finance.
Lost amid claims of spending cuts and foreign interests is the reason campaign finance reform was established in the first place: a little fiasco called Watergate. The idea was to reduce the influence of corporations and special interests and provide greater transparency.
These goals are no less necessary now than they were in 1974.
Still, Democrats are politicking about the relatively minor concern of foreign influences and Republicans are apparently willing to toss almost any program if it saves some money.
“Voting to end the presidential campaign fund should be a no-brainer,” said Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of West Virginia.
That’s the problem with Congress these days. Too many no-brainers.
Messenger managing editor Kevin Frisch’s column appears each Sunday in the Daily Messenger in New York. Contact him at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or at email@example.com.