House Republicans are backing several provisions that could reshape campaign-finance rules ahead of next year’s midterm elections as spending negotiations continue this fall. The measures are included in a GOP package of spending bills being debated in the House. While the House package is unlikely to advance in the Senate, its provisions could become bargaining chips in the negotiations leading up to the next government-funding deadline, now Dec. 8. Under one deregulatory measure in the spending package, churches may be able to contribute to candidates without fear of losing their tax-exempt status, furthering President Donald Trump’s promise to “get rid of and totally destroy” a law that forbids such activity. Corporations also would be able to ask their employees to donate to unlimited numbers of trade associations’ political-action groups instead of limiting employee solicitations to one group per year.
Other measures included in the bill would continue to prevent the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission from implementing rules that would affect political activities of 501(C)(4) nonprofits and publicly traded corporations, respectively.
And the government would still be prohibited from requiring federal contractors to disclose their political contributions and campaign expenditures.
The multiple provisions—called riders—are prompting pushback from campaign-finance watchdogs, who generally favor tighter restrictions on money in politics. The provisions have been sought by religious or business groups, who have argued they are otherwise hamstrung from fully participating in the political process.