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House Votes to Prohibit Public Funds for Presidential Conventions House Votes to Prohibit Public Funds for Presidential Conventions House Votes to Prohibit Public Funds for Presidential Conventions House Votes to Prohibit P...

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Blogs / Power

House Votes to Prohibit Public Funds for Presidential Conventions

September 19, 2012

This has been updated. It was originally published at 6:55 p.m.

The last balloons have dropped and the confetti has been swept away, but the conventions are still on the minds of House Republicans. Or at least, defunding them is.

The House voted Wednesday on H.R. 5912, a measure that would repeal the public funding of national conventions for both parties. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., passed under suspension of the rules, by a vote of 310-95.

Campaign finance reform groups, however, oppose the measure on the grounds that it does not address a new funding structure for the conventions. Together, the Americans for Campaign Reform, Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, the League of Women Voters and Public Citizen sent a letter urging House members to reject the measure.

"Our organizations believe it is essential to repair the presidential public financing system, not repeal it," the letter said. It offered support for an alternative bill from Reps. David Price, D-N.C., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Walter Jones, R-N.C., that replaces presidential public funding with a system based on matching small contributions with public funds.

The Senate passed a similar measure, sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Mark Udall, D-Colo., in June by an overwhelming 95-4.

Currently, conventions are largely financed by private donations. The government, however, gives each political party millions of dollars from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to finance the two shin-digs. This year's parties in Tampa and Charlotte each received $18.2 million from public funds, with the rest of the price tag coming from private donations.

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