Progressive and political money groups say they will intensify their lobbying in the coming days to prevent four campaign finance measures from hitching a ride on a year-end spending deal. With a deadline to reach agreement on government-wide funding less than two weeks away, the effort will be no easy pitch. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., authored one of the measures, which would relax limits on coordination between political parties and candidates. “They’re swimming upstream every step of the way,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a Fordham University professor who specializes in campaign and election issues. “Legislators are going to be hard-pressed to vote against an appropriation bill that’s otherwise appealing to them on the basis of some of these riders.”
Opponents of the measures argue they would decrease transparency and would make it easier for “soft money” to flow to the political parties. McConnell and other backers of rolling back limits on party-candidate coordination say it would help political parties compete in the campaign funding scene increasingly dominated by super PACs that can raise unlimited funds.
McConnell’s measure was added to the fiscal 2016 Financial Services Appropriations bill (S 1910), while the three other items were included in the House’s version (HR 2995).
The provisions in the House bill would prevent the White House from requiring campaign finance disclosures by government contractors and put the brakes on a Securities and Exchange Commission effort to require public corporations to disclose their campaign finance activities. Finally, a third provision would make sure the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t issue new regulations aimed at defining political activity for nonprofit groups.