I recently shared on Facebook one of my favorite political quotes.
This quote is very relevant to a piece of legislation that has components both sides of the political aisle should be opposed to. It’s being couched in outcomes that we might feel good about, but the actual implementation it suggests does not in any way remedy what “we the people” would really want.
I thought I would write a little about it not just to raise awareness, but I’m asking for help from everyone on both sides of the political aisle to get involved. The bill is HR1, and while it is cleverly titled “For the People Act,” I believe you will see it is really only for the politicians in DC (and for those who want to run for office).
I’m personally really opposed to this legislation for a number of reasons, but for this discussion, I will stick with those items that should be a concern for both the right and left. If this bill is passed in its current form, here are a few things that will happen:
#1. It will fund political campaigns with taxpayer dollars. For every political contribution a politician raises that is $200 or less, it will be matched with an additional bonus of taxpayer dollars 6-to-1. So if a candidate gets 1,000 people to donate $200, every taxpayer will be contributing towards a ‘match’ of $1.2 million. I think it’s safe to say none of us want to be forced into funding candidates we are completely opposed to with our tax dollars.
#2. Along with what I mentioned above, it would also establish a new voucher pilot program that grants eligible voters a $25 voucher to donate to whatever campaign they want. (this link doesn’t seem to be taking you to the actual section, so when you get to the page just search for “My Voice Voucher”) I get the appeal of this on the surface as it sounds noble. But if the goal is we want to address money in politics, and if we are wanting to level the playing field, let’s propose legislation that actually addresses the problem head-on. The notion of federal funding of campaigns through taxpayers is about as un-American as it comes.
#3. It allows candidates to expand their salary from their campaigns. Our taxes already pay Congress their salary, they shouldn’t be allowed to double-dip on our dime. Currently, candidates are not allowed to expense those items they would already have if they weren’t running for office. HR1 does away with this restriction in a number of categories, expands the list to include expenses for their dependents, and again this comes out of taxpayers’ funds. (this link doesn’t seem to be taking you to the actual section, so when you get to the page just search for “Personal Use Services As Authorized Campaign Expenditures”) This is such a perverse incentive to encourage aspiring politicians to be professional candidates.
#4. It will weaponize the Federal Election Commission and turn it into a partisan organization. Currently, the FEC is a bipartisan organization as it consists of six members, three from each party. HR 1 looks to change this, reducing the total number of members from 6 to 5. (this link doesn’t seem to be taking you to the actual section, so when you get to the page just search for “Membership of Federal Election Committee”) This would always give one party the majority and allow them to control the FEC for their party’s benefit. This may sound good when your party is in power, but do you trust the “other” party to be fair regarding voting rules when they are in control? We need more things to be bipartisan, not less.
As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of other reasons to oppose it, but these are, in my opinion, the most egregious across the political spectrum. If you are in agreement, please share this info on social media, and reach out to your politicians to let them know you oppose this bill.
If you aren’t sure how to contact your representatives, I’ve provided the links below to look up their contact info: