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Congress Planning to Shut Down Third Parties

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I first learned of this from a Green Party press release. While I disagree with most of the Greens’ issues, or at least don’t agree with them to the extent that they push them, I have to say this is an issue that I support. Not because I am Republican, I have flirted with Conservative third parties, but because of the 2 power hungry sides in my party that don’t care who they step on and hurt. It sometimes is so bad, that someone like me who wants to bring the sides together is likely to get hurt, because neither side claims you and both sides call you a member of the other camp. But, that’s not what this article is about.

This article is about the Democrats trying to pass a bill (HR 4694) that effectively seeks to ban any and all third parties, basically making it so only the Republicans and Democrats will have access to power. It’s already difficult for an independent or third party candidate to gain ballot access, but this new bill would make it almost impossible.

HR 4694 (“Let the People Decide Clean Campaign Act”) would mean that the official nominees of parties (i.e., Democrats and Republicans) that had averaged 25% of the vote for House races in a given district in the last two elections would get full public funding.

All others (i.e., third party and independent candidates) would be required to submit petitions signed by 10% of the number of people who voted in the last election to get partial funding, and 20% petitions to get full funding.

The press release gives an example of the 2nd district in Missouri, where 10% of that district would be some 35,000 signatures, just to spend anything at all, including your/his/her own money.

This is a bill that people of all parties should be concerned about. It prohibits the exercise of free speech, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Sure the Green Party may have siphoned off votes from the Democrats, but lest we forget Perot did the same to Republicans a few years before. If anything we as voters should vote third party more often so that we can get give a chance to some other ideas that the big two ignore.

So no matter what party you belong to, I encourage you to write your Congressman and tell him or her to vote against HR 4694. It doesn’t matter if you belong to the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, Democratic, Republican or any of the other parties out there or no party at all, this is an issue that we must put down. If you believe in free speech then this is something you have to fight.

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About Kansasman

  • http://bryanmckay.com/blog Bryan McKay

    The one bit from the press release you didn’t mention (which would have made your points all the more powerful), is this:

    “[…] candidates who don’t qualify for funding would be barred from spending any privately raised money on their campaigns.”

    Now, the idea of public funding in itself isn’t a bad thing. But not allowing a candidate to spend privately raised money if they don’t qualify for the public funding is absurd. I suppose the argument would be that this prevents wealthy candidates from dominating the congressional races, but I am reminded of the study in Freakonomics that determined the amount of money spent on a campaign did not correllate to whether or not the candidate was elected. Just something to think about…

    I would like to point out, however, that could have easily been missed in the press release. is that currently this bill would only apply to congressional races. I don’t know enough about congressional elections to determine if perhaps there is an honest and reasonable motivation for this – I’d like to think there is, as my representative from Connecticut is one of the primary supporters – but it feels like this would create too much of a slippery slope scenario.

  • http://kevinsview.com/ Kevin Surbaugh

    I didn’t include it, because if a person doesn’t qualify they won’t be on the ballot so it would be pointless to spend money on a campaign that doesn’t exist.
    There isn’t any public money (from the government anyway) as the press release sounded, just what the general public donates to the campaign. Now if changes and they were given mathing funds like presidential campaigns that could be another story. However it would be stupid with the finicial stability of our government.

  • http://www.etopiamedia.net/empnn/pages/apt/apt48-5551212.html Steve Lake

    U.S. Green Party leader denounces Obey-Frank public campaign financing bill, is looking at H.R. 3099 from Rep. Tierney or possible Green Party public financing option

  • Ebony Ghost

    Sad to say, but we’re already on the slippery slope. The last major turn in this direction was term limits. When that bill of goods was on the table, the plain writing was that it was to prevent third party any candidates who did get elected from staying. Look around. Now that people are finishing their second terms in many districts, I’m sure that one near you is simply running again in another district.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    A huge march on Washington to shut down Congress would be nice right about now. The 435 members of the House along with the 100 Senators should be locked up under the Rotunda until real reform is delivered. We’ve got a sick Federal system, folks. It gets sicker every minute the current Leadership of both parties is allowed to continue.

  • Ebony Ghost

    Considering what HR 4694 has in store for our Republic, the Green Party press release is lightweight in it’s “call” upon Congess to reject the bill. It should be a demand. The way it backhandedly proposes a Constitutional Amendment (a temporary one, at that) in case it’s found unconstitutional is an insult. It will, of course have to be seen by the Supreme Court. The question is if the Supreme Court will have to institute comedy day before they see it.

    I know an act of Congress is supposed to be serious business, but “The Congress finds that the existing system of private political contributions has become a fundamental threat to the integrity of the national election process, has undermined public confidence in the legitimacy of that election process, and that the provisions contained in this Act are necessary to prevent the corruption of the public’s faith in the Nation’s system of governance” would lead one to beleive that what follows might attempt to address the demise of the 34,000 registered bribery artists in Washington D.C. and the money laundering scheme known as campaign finance. Maybe it does.

    If I read it right, and I could very well be wrong, the bill could more appropriately be named The Shut The Fu*k Up Act of 2006. There is a tax increase to fund the Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund and a specific restriction on the spending of private funds, but absolutely no mention of the money laundering and bribery scheme commonly referred to as lobbying. If the Act is found to be unconstitutional,

    `SECTION 1. Congress may provide for reasonable restrictions on contributions, expenditures, and other disbursements in campaigns for election for Federal office as necessary to protect the integrity of the electoral process.

    `SECTION 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. No legislation enacted to enforce this article shall apply with respect to any election held after the last day of the year of the fourth Presidential election held after the date of the enactment of the legislation, unless the period in which such legislation is in effect is extended by an Act of Congress which is signed into law by the President.’

    goes to both houses and as proposed Constitutinal Amendment and is limited to two hours of debate. However, the Senate would still be free to engage in the graft and slease that passes for business as usual. With the House members effectively out of the loop, the cash goats are going to hurt somebody in their stampede to the Senate.

    There is good news though, I saved a bunch of money on my… oops wrong page. Let me try this: This legislation will remove the ‘third party’ designation from any party that can garner 25% of the popular vote in a House Congressional district. There are some regional parties that can actually acheive major party status, in individual districts, ahead of the nationally recognized third parties.

  • http://www.delusionaldemocracy.com Joel S. Hirschhorn

    All this latest demonic effort by Democrats shows is that more than ever we need an Article V convention, that congress has refused to grant for over 200 years; learn more at FOAVC

  • Nancy

    I’d be in favor of a general revolution that cleans out ALL the goddamned maggots from DC, from top (the WH) to bottom & all the appointees in between, like those goons over at Justice who have made a farce & mockery of the name.

    Hey Silas – where’ve you been? Haven’t seen you around BC for a dog’s age.