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Posted at 10:48 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Obama 'strongly opposes' bill to cut federal funds for presidential campaigns

By Ed O'Keefe

The White House "strongly opposes" a Republican-backed bill to stop federal funding of presidential campaigns and political conventions -- a public offering President Obama declined during his 2008 campaign. Despite that, the White House believes the public financing system should "be fixed rather than dismantled," it said Tuesday.

In a sharply-worded assessment of proposed legislation, the Office of Management and Budget said the GOP bill would kill public financing of presidential elections and expand the influence of private corporations and special-interest groups.

The administration's opinions come a day before House Republicans plan to hold a vote on the legislation, which would save about $520 million over the next decade and would require presidential candidates to rely on private donations instead of taxpayer money, according to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.).

The bill is an outgrowth of a Cantor-backed program that invites GOP supporters to vote on proposed government spending cuts that should be considered by the full House. Even if the bill passes the Republican-led House, however, it's unlikely to be considered by the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Presidential candidates qualify for federal matching funds during the primary season if they meet certain private fundraising thresholds and abide by certain restrictions. Once formally nominated, major party presidential candidates may also opt to use public funding if they agree not to take contributions from private donors.

In 2008, Obama opted out of the public funding system and raised about $750 million for his campaign. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) opted to use public financing, creating a significant cash disadvantage for the Republican candidate. Close observers expect Democrats and Republicans to spend more than $1 billion on the 2012 presidential campaign.

The White House statement noted that "candidates began to opt out" of public financing during the 2000 presidential campaign. "Since that time, promising proposals for the strengthening of the system have been made," the statement said.

In a surprisingly blunt assessment -- when compared to the normally staid format of OMB statements on legislation -- the White House said the Republican bill "would kill the system, not strengthen it," and added:

"After a year in which the Citizens United decision rolled back a century of law to allow corporate interests to spend vast sums in the Nation's elections and to do so without disclosing the true interests behind them, this is not the time to further empower the special interests or to obstruct the work of reform," the statement said.

In an editorial published Tuesday, The Washington Post editorial board agreed with the White House, writing that "the need for rehabbing the presidential funding system is even greater than during the 2008 campaign. Fix the system - don't junk it." (The views expressed on the editorial pages of The Post are the views of the editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the views of Post reporters.)

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 25, 2011; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Comments

Of course the GOP wants to cut public spending, thus giving more funding power to special interests. Shameless.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 25, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand this.

Obama was too good for public financing, why would he want it to continue?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 25, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Almost nothing ranks higher than the need for election funding reform; for the simple reason, that we have to remove the debt owed the donor to have honest and unbiased elected officials. There have to be limits set on private donations - real limits - limits that don't minimize the average citizen. If that can't be done, then campaigns should be financed with public funding - and a LOT less of it. We need better candidates; we've had enough recycling and rehashing the old ones; a lower monetary bar would open the process so that just perhaps we could find real leaders instead of politicians bought and sold by the same parties and political groups.

Posted by: tnvret | January 25, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@getjiggly1:
It's a primary difference between Dems and GOP.

In spite of being the largest private fundraiser candidate, Obama still wants to make sure the playing field is at least *somewhat* level for everybody.

As opposed to the GOP who, seeing the Citizens United ruling effect, realize they can elect anyone with unlimited money that isn't disclosed.

Yes, thanks to Citizens United, a presidential candidate can receive money from anonymous donors - including foreign sources. And you have to take the donor organizations 'word' that they aren't actually doing that. No oversight no accountability.

And the GOP blocked an attempt to do just such oversight. Go figure.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, when you spread the wealth around, everybody wins.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 25, 2011 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Except for foreigners of course. Damn them all and their funny accents.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 25, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Federal funding means the use of taxpayer’s money. This fact seems to be lost in the minds of so many members of our federal government and perhaps some of the public as well. As I read this article, I can’t help myself from thinking that this bill should take it one-step further and dock the salary of the president and members of congress on the days they are campaigning. The American worker does not get paid to take off from work for ‘personal business’ unless they use personal days or vacation time which they have earned. We all know that the amount of recess time that Congress gets is down right obscene. Maybe if the president and members of congress spent more time at their jobs than fund raising and campaigning they would have a better handle on the budget and deficit that they are responsible for. Nothing wrong with dreaming it is what keeps me from losing all hope. The amount of money spent on campaigning has made the entire process corrupt and eliminates the chances of many a good candidate, and helps keep the bad ones in office.

Of course, the White House strongly opposes this bill. Even George Soros, JP Morgan, and G.E. have their limitations on how much they are willing to donate to Obama’s campaign. This administration is for tearing down Capitalism by regulations and higher taxes for those they disapprove of like oil companies which only increases the cost of energy to us the taxpayers. The only capitalism that Obama supports is crony capitalism like in the CEO of G.E. Jeffrey Immelt or Bill Dailey from JP Morgan. One only has to follow the money to see just how corrupt this administration is. The Federal Reserve loans G.E. 16 billion dollars of taxpayer money after G.E. made a $499,130 contribution to Obama’s campaign. The American taxpayer is paying a lot more than their private donations. Now Immelt has been appointed by Obama Head of Council on Jobs. More than likely it is to push green jobs which will make only the chosen few richer. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn at a future time that Obama is invested in some undisclosed way with G.E. or some other Illinois based green energy company. I wonder if the technology that G.E. sold to Iran was green? Why doesn’t our government have or enforce laws that make it illegal for American corporations to sell to our enemies? It is difficult to understand that our government has sanctions against Iran and G.E. sells technology to them. How come the American people who are against crony capitalism do not boycott G.E. products?

The chances of getting this bill through the democratically controlled Senate are as likely as Obama not running for re-election. One thing is for sure; the not passing of this bill will shed a strong light on Obama’s unwillingness to save millions of taxpayer’s dollars due to his own greed and lust for power.


Posted by: takebackamerica1 | January 25, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Of course he doesn't want to cut it. He's only interested in being elected back into office. The Republicans want to keep it too. The corruption never stops.

Posted by: USDA | January 25, 2011 6:35 PM | Report abuse

so much drivel, multiple posts coming...
@takebackamerica1:
"We all know that the amount of recess time that Congress gets is down right obscene."
.
Funny, that 'recess' time is so they can go home and actually talk to their constituents. Or would you rather they spent more time in Washington? If *your* representatives are taking vacations, that's your problem, but the system is designed to give them time to be at home with the constituents. Isn't that what 'take back America' types want????

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:47 PM | Report abuse

@takebackamerica1:
"Federal funding means the use of taxpayer’s money."
.
As opposed to unlimited anonymous money *foreign* Corporations? Having tax payer funded elections is the *only* sane way to do things. Otherwise it's big money wins. This is an attempt to prevent rich people from buying elections; or do you want that?

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

@takebackamerica1:
"The American worker does not get paid to take off from work for ‘personal business’ unless they use personal days or vacation time which they have earned."
.
The average worker also doesn't have national security concerns. Should the president move about without security? Should GWBush have driven himself to Texas for every vacation he took? GWBush was at least as bad about rigging up a single 'working event' so he could go to fundraisers on the tax payer tab. It's a part of the job unfortunately, you can't be president without either being a hermit in the White House (which people complain about you not meeting actual people) or you travel and have people like you complaining that he's traveling. Which is it you want?

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@takebackamerica1:
re: GE bashing.
.
Seriously? after the GOP wholeheartedly endorsed unlimited anonymous foreign donations (Citizens United), you're complaining about a donation we actually *know* about? How about a little anger towards the real money in the race. The money you don't know where it came from.

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse

@takebackamerica1:
"Federal funding means the use of taxpayer’s money."
.
As opposed to unlimited anonymous money *foreign* Corporations? Having tax payer funded elections is the *only* sane way to do things. Otherwise it's big money wins. This is an attempt to prevent rich people from buying elections; or do you want that?

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:49 PM
==============
You mean like Obama breaking his promise to raise $746 million including money from shady sources like prepaid credit cards?

I'm sure turning off the most basic tracking mechanism on his website was an accident.

Posted by: Cryos | January 25, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

@takebackamerica1:
"One thing is for sure; the not passing of this bill will shed a strong light on Obama’s unwillingness to save millions of taxpayer’s dollars due to his own greed and lust for power."
.
Again, what is your alternative? Private financing through anonymous donations? Can't you see just how bad that would be?

Obama proved he didn't need the Federal funding. If he were truly 'lusty and greedy' for power, don't you think he'd be all about preventing anyone from getting 'free' money to run against him?

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

@Cryos:
"You mean like Obama breaking his promise to raise $746 million including money from shady sources like prepaid credit cards?"
.
What exactly is your point? Obama isn't trying to make things *only* private financing (which served him pretty well). He's actively trying to make sure other people without his fundraising ability have a somewhat fair shake.
.
As to your assertion, I haven't heard that before, and agree if true it isn't great.
.
But given that Obama and the Dems tried to get Campaign Finance Reform legislation passed that would stop most 'anonymous' donations only to have the GOP block it, who is trying to actually fix the problem and who is actively abstructing said help?

Posted by: rpixley220 | January 25, 2011 7:56 PM | Report abuse

This country can save $520 million over 10 years. Perhaps it's time Obama adds up all these potential savings and start slashing at just about everything.

The US public detests politicians at this point. Let them fund their own races.

Posted by: samwoods77 | January 25, 2011 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Dirty furriners.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | January 26, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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