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November 13, 2013

Tsongas introduces bill to regulate campaign funding

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Niki Tsongas yesterday introduced the No Taxpayer Money for Corporate Campaigns Act, which would prevent any federal funds received by corporations, private companies, or other entities from being used for lobbying or in political campaigns.

“Democracy cannot function when special interests drown out the influence of the average voter,” the Lowell Democrat said. “My bill is straightforward and common sense. Entities that receive federal funds may not use those funds to elect or defeat a political candidate, fund partisan voter registration drives or get-out-the-vote activities, lobby or support a trade association that campaigns or lobbies.”

Tsongas introduced similar legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission during the 112th Congress, which was never brought to a vote by Republican leadership.

“The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling paved the way for an unprecedented influx of corporate funds to be used for political purposes,” said Tsongas. “The decision came at a time when unparalleled taxpayer funds were committed to shoring up our nation’s financial institutions, in addition to the billions of federal dollars that are awarded to defense contractors, non-profit groups, and other entities each year. By striking down the ban on corporate expenditures in political campaigns, the Supreme Court’s ruling allows companies like AIG, Goldman Sachs, or Halliburton to use these taxpayer dollars to support political candidates who will do their bidding, or punish those that won’t. It may be years before we can completely reverse the Supreme Court’s ill-conceived ruling, but we can take steps now to limit one of its harmful consequences.”

The No Taxpayer Money for Corporate Campaigns Act has received support from several leading campaign finance reform advocacy groups.

“At this critical moment when big-money special interests and corporate lobbyists always seem to get their way, Common Cause commends Congresswoman Tsongas for introducing the No Taxpayer Money for Corporate Campaigns Act of 2013,” said Aaron Scherb, Director of Legislative Affairs at Common Cause. “This bill will help strengthen our democracy so that everyday Americans will always have a strong voice in our government.”

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