Davis: Federal Government Should Not Be in the Business of Funding Congressional Campaigns

Mar 2, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) spoke on the House floor against H.R. 1, the For the Politicians Act. Davis specifically spoke against the bill's creation of a federal fund to publicly finance congressional campaigns using corporate fines.

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Davis's written remarks delivered on the House floor:

Last week, this House voted on a bill that was sold as pandemic relief bill, yet, less than 9% of that bill was for public health funding to combat Covid-19 and $140 million of that bill is going to a failed rail project in Speaker Pelosi’s district. This week, the Democrats have put forth a bill titled “For The People.” But the bill is nearly 800 pages of provisions that take election decisions away from state and local officials and put it in the hands of the federal government, attack Americans’ First Amendment right to free speech, and publicly fund members of Congress’s campaigns using corporate dollars.
 
There’s a pattern emerging: The Democrats are bringing bills to the floor under the guise of being for the people, but their bill actually benefits the politicians.
 
As I said, I have many issues with H.R. 1, including the mandates this bill puts on states and provisions that attack our First Amendment rights, but I want to focus on one particular provision in this bill right now. And that’s how the Democrats’ number one priority is a bill that funds their own campaigns. H.R. 1 would launder corporate dollars through the Treasury and use those dollars to publicly fund congressional campaigns. Based on the 2020 fundraising numbers, that creates access to more than $7 million in public funds to bolster my colleagues’ campaign coffers by providing a 6 to 1 funding match to small donations. I know when I speak with my constituents back home, establishing a program that helps me acquire more money for my campaign is not what they think the federal government should be working on.
 
At the Rules Committee – because this bill did not go through regular order and did not receive a markup in the House Admin Committee – we submitted amendments to not only strike this program altogether and prevent sitting members of Congress from financially benefiting from this bill , but also require any increase in corporate fines to be used to help with pandemic relief. I could think of a lot better ways to spend this 7 million dollars, like pandemic relief, reopening schools, or rebuilding a fund to help women’s shelters and rape crisis centers. Amazingly, Democrats wouldn’t even allow these amendments to come to the floor for a vote.
 
That’s disappointing because I hoped we could all agree that helping our country through this pandemic is more important than lining our campaign coffers.
 
Clearly this bill is not for the benefit of people, but it is for the politicians’ campaign coffers.
 
I also want to note that this bill is opposed by 16 Secretaries of State, 9 former FEC commissioners, the National Disability Rights Network, the Institute of Free Speech, and more than 130 other non-profit organizations, but supported by Indivisible – a group whose sole purpose is to elect Democrats. I think this speaks volumes as to why my friends on the other side of the aisle are rushing this bill through the with little debate and next to no input from Republicans.
 
Despite what my friends on the other side of the aisle continue to tell Americans, this bill is not For The People, this bill is for the politicians.

117th Congress