A bipartisan backlash is growing against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s efforts to insert an obscure measure into a year-end spending bill that would allow unlimited spending by political parties in coordination with candidates. McConnell — who has long believed that money is an expression of free speech and that restrictions should be removed on political spending — is trying to mimic a tactic that was employed last year. In late 2014, congressional leaders from both parties used a massive year-end bill as a vehicle to greatly increase the amount of money that can flow into political parties. But while last year’s rider was snuck in at the last minute, this year McConnell’s plan has been smoked out early. The backlash now comes from both the left and — perhaps surprisingly given conservatives’ fervent advocacy of looser restrictions on political spending — the right, but for different reasons.
The protests are becoming so loud that they might encourage Democratic leadership and ultimately President Obama to stop McConnell’s rider from making it into the final bill.
While the measure is complicated and largely unknown to the American public; if it passes into law it will significantly increase the influence of wealthy donors on elected officials.
Under the current law, political parties are limited to spending $48,000 in coordination with candidates running for House seats, and varying amounts based on population for Senate candidates. But if McConnell gets his way, the parties would be allowed to spend as much as they please in coordination with the candidates.