House will take another crack at banning taxpayer funded conventions

The PECF is funded by taxpayers who choose to donate $3 to the fund, which they can don on their federal tax return. But Cole says that with a $16-trillion debt, that money should be used in other ways.

ADVERTISEMENT
"There is no justification for spending taxpayer money on political conventions while we face a $16-trillion debt and 8 percent unemployment," Cole said over the summer when he introduced the bill. "It's outrageous for the federal government to waste millions on multi-day, lavish conventions that exist solely to promote presidential candidates while the military and other vital government functions are being cut.

"The political parties are fully capable of funding their conventions through voluntary contributions without squandering taxpayer dollars that would be better spent saving legitimate government programs. This is a frivolous, outdated expenditure that we can't afford."

Cole said more than $220 million of taxpayer funds have been spent on presidential conventions since 1976.

Cole's bill is similar to language the Senate approved in June as an amendment to the farm bill, and is meant to create momentum for passage of final language this year.

Last year, the House approved a tougher version that would eliminate the option taxpayers have to contribute $3 to fund the PECF, and also eliminate the presidential election campaign fund. The Senate never acted on that bill.

Republicans are bringing up Cole's new bill under a suspension of House rules, which will require a two-thirds vote, a level of support that seems achievable given support in the Senate.