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Rep. Steve Israel tries to ban 3rd party candidates

Please call Rep. Steve Israel at (631) 951-2210, fax him at (631) 951-3308 or email him to remove his name from sponsorship of this bill.

Ballot Access News
Edited by Richard Winger

Public Funding of Congressional Campaigns
February 2nd, 2006

Congressman David Obey’s public funding of
congressional campaigns bill is HR 4694. Nominees
of parties that had averaged 25% of the vote for
US House in that district (over the last two
elections) would get full public funding. Also,
independent candidates who had averaged 25% would
also get full public funding. All others would be
required to submit petitions signed by 10% of the
last vote cast, for partial funding; and 20%
petitions for full funding. Candidates not
qualifying for partial funding would be barred
from spending any privately raised money. The
co-sponsors are these 7 Democrats: Rosa DeLauro
of Connecticut, Barney Frank and James McGovern
of Massachusetts, Henry Waxman and Bob Filner of
California, Steve Israel of New York, and Tim
Ryan of Ohio.

*  *  *  *  *

St. Louis Oracle (web log)
Bill would ban 3rd-party campaigns for Congress
Sunday, February 05, 2006

Eight Democratic congressmen have filed a bill
that combines a laudable goal – public funding of
congressional campaigns – with a vicious attack
on freedom of speech. The bill would effectively
eliminate virtually all congressional campaigns
by independent and third-party candidates.

The bill, HR 4694, would provide public financing
for both Democrats and Republicans in most
districts. But Ballot Access News reports that
candidates not qualifying for funding would not
only receive no government funds, but would also
be barred from spending any privately raised
money. No government money and no private money
means that a non-qualifying candidate would be
prohibited from spending any money at all, not
one red cent. Not even a business card with the
candidate’s name and office sought would be legal
under the bill!

Requirements for qualifying for funding would be
relatively easy for the major parties but almost
impossible for independent and third-party
candidates. The bill would provide public funding
for nominees of parties that had averaged 25% of
the vote for U.S. House in that district over the
last two elections. Independent candidates who
had averaged 25% would also get full public
funding, but unlike party candidates, only the
specific individual who previously got those
votes would qualify. All others would be required
to submit petitions signed by 20% of the last
vote cast for full funding, and 10% for partial
funding. For example, in Missouri’s 2nd
congressional district, a candidate with a party
that won less than 25% of the vote in the last
two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures
to qualify for the public funding that her/his
Democratic and Republican opponents would get
automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd
District would count. Nearly 35,000 signatures
would be required in order to allow the candidate
to spend anything at all on the campaign.

In certain districts where a single party is
dominant, the bill would eliminate campaigns by
the district’s second party as well. Not
surprisingly, Democrats (who propose this bill)
hold Republican opponents to below 25% in more
districts than Republicans do the same to
Democrats. If the bill were law today, a
Republican campaign in Lacy Clay’s 1st District
would be illegal without a massive petition
drive. In Roy Blunt’s 7th District, Democrats
would be less than a percentage point away from
the same fate.

The offensive bill is sponsored by Rep. David
Obey (D-WI) and co-sponsored by fellow Democrats
Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Barney Frank and
James McGovern of Massachusetts, Henry Waxman and
Bob Filner of California, Steve Israel of New
York, and Tim Ryan of Ohio. So much for standing
up the for the little guy.

The Oracle wonders if the sponsors’ support for
publicly financed elections is genuine, or if
this legislation is merely a disguised attempt to
discredit the whole concept.

2 Responses

  1. […] [From On the Wilder Side] […]

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