Congress is getting ready to give itself loads of extra campaign dollars again this holiday season. The catchall spending bill scheduled for a vote by Dec. 11 is what’s known in Washington as a “Christmas tree”: legislation festooned with amendments that are gifts to legislators and their home districts, or that create new, ideologically based policy that has little to do with the bill’s purpose, which is funding the government. Now the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and some House Republicans are reportedly planning to add four campaign finance riders to the $1.1 trillion bill’s already-groaning branches, hoping to help Republicans in elections next year. Mr. McConnell has personally put forward the rider that would expand his colleagues’ campaign coffers. It would allow the National Republican Senatorial Committee and its Democratic counterpart to escape restrictions on expenditures they make in coordination with an individual candidate.
Under current law, a donor can give $2,700 to a candidate in a primary race and $2,700 for the general election. That same donor can also legally give $33,400 annually to a national party committee, like the Senate campaign committee. Federal law limits how much of that amount can be spent in coordination with a candidate. The new proposal would allow a candidate to solicit the $5,400 maximum from a donor, and then ask the same donor to give $33,400 to the party, which could then coordinate the spending of that entire amount with the candidate.
The other three riders seek to prevent President Obama or federal government agencies from taking steps to require fuller disclosure of contributions made by outside groups in federal elections.
Full Article: A Gift From Congress, to Congress – The New York Times.