The Proposed Spending Bill Contains Two Unacceptable Anti-Democracy Policy Provisions

Release Date: 
December 16, 2015

Adam Lioz, Demos Counsel and Senior Advisor for Policy & Outreach, released the following statement in response to the omnibus spending bill:

The spending bill released this morning by congressional Republicans to fund the federal government contains two unacceptable anti-democracy policy provisions. These “riders” would prevent the IRS and SEC from cracking down on secret money in our elections, blocking growing grassroots campaigns to help Americans know who is spending millions to influence our votes. The riders must be removed before final passage.

Amazingly, the legislation could have been worse. Senator Mitch McConnell and other opponents of transparent, small-donor democracy sought additional provisions that would have undermined candidate contribution limits by allowing unlimited “coordinated” spending by political parties; gutted the presidential public financing system (which Congress must instead act to shore up); and prevented President Obama from issuing an Executive Order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending. Thankfully, the Democratic congressional leadership, White House staff, and strong reform allies on the Hill such as Rep. John Sarbanes were able to beat back these outrageous attempts to use a must-pass bill to undermine our democracy.

The IRS and SEC riders, if not removed before final passage, will further undermine the goal of a democracy where the strength of an American’s voice doesn’t depend upon the size of her wallet. President Obama must pick up the mantle of pro-democracy reform and act now to issue an Executive Order on contractor disclosure.