“The Democrat Politician Protection Act”

‘I want to make sure the American people know what this is all about. And I want to assure the American people, right from the outset - my colleagues and I will fight to prevent this one-sided power grab. It may pass the House, but not the Senate.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding House Democrats’ proposal to centralize electoral control in Washington, D.C. and to erode free speech:

“This week, Democrats in the House of Representatives are beginning the committee process for a bill they’re saying is their party’s signature priority for this Congress. They are so focused on this legislation that they’ve given it the ceremonial designation of H.R. 1. Their top priority. I think it’s more accurately described another way: The ‘Democrat Politician Protection Act.’

“This sprawling, comprehensive proposal is basically the far left’s entire Christmas wish list where our nation’s political process is concerned. What would it do? It would pile new Washington D.C.-focused regulations onto virtually every aspect of how politicians are elected and what Americans can say about them. So my Democratic friends have already tried to market this unprecedented intrusion with all the predictable clichés. Quote – ‘restoring democracy.’ Quote – ‘for the people.’ Really? The only common motivation running through the whole proposal seems to be this: Democrats searching for ways to give Washington politicians more control over what Americans can say about them and how they get elected.

“It’s an attempt to rewrite the rules of American politics in order to benefit one side over the other. I expect I’ll be talking about the Democrat Politician Protection Act here on the floor for a long time. But I wanted to just take a few minutes today to give my colleagues a quick tour through a few of its components. To begin with, Democrats want to make the Federal Elections Commission a partisan institution.

“Since Watergate, the FEC has been a six-member body and neither party gets more than three seats. Neither party. After all, this is the commission with the sensitive duty of regulating Americans’ speech about politics and campaigns themselves. The FEC should not be a weapon that one political party can wield against its rivals. But the legislation that Democrats are moving through committee would throw away that bipartisan split. It would reduce the FEC to a five-member body and -- listen to this -- let sitting presidents hand-pick their majority. Obviously this is a recipe for turning the FEC into a partisan weapon.

“Democrats also empower that newly-partisan FEC to regulate more of what Americans say. That 3-to-2 FEC would get to determine what they subjectively see as ‘campaign-related’ — a new, vague category of regulated speech.  There’d also be new latitude to decide when a nonprofit’s speech has crossed that same fuzzy line and subsequently force the publication of the group’s private supporters. All this appears custom-built to chill the exercise of the First Amendment and give federal bureaucrats -- and the waiting left-wing mob -- a clearer idea of just who to intimidate. And this just scratches the surface of this proposal. House Democrats are also eyeing an expensive new set of taxpayer subsidies for political campaign consultants.

“They want a new six-fold government ‘match’ for certain types of political contributions, a new federally-funded voucher program to line politicians’ pockets with even more taxpayer dollars.  Plus – listen to this, that wasn’t enough -- taking our tax money to spend on attack ads and bumper strips and the like. Listen to this, six additional days of paid vacation for any federal bureaucrat who decides they’d like to hover around a polling place while Americans cast ballots. So the new taxpayer subsidies don’t even pass the laugh test. But other aspects of the bill are even more disturbing.

“Perhaps most worrisome of all is the unprecedented proposal to federalize our nation’s elections, giving Washington D.C. politicians even more control over who gets to come here in the first place. Hundreds of pages are dedicated to telling states how to run their elections, from when and where they must take place, to the procedures they have to follow, to the machines they have to use.

“Democrats want to import the inefficiencies of state and federal bureaucracy to ballot boxes and voter rolls while making it harder for states and localities to clean inaccurate data off their voter rolls, harder to remove duplicate registrations, ineligible voters, and other errors, harder to check every box Washington Democrats demand before allowing you to pick your representatives.  Provision after provision would make it easier for campaign lawyers to take advantage of disorganization, chaos, and confusion.

“Yet the proposal does practically nothing to combat the real, live voter fraud that does happen right before our eyes. It is suspiciously silent on the murky ‘ballot harvesting’ practices that recently threw North Carolina’s 9th congressional district into total chaos. Pages and pages rewriting election law, but nothing on this actual problem -- perhaps because similar practices are perfectly legal in California, where the Democratic Party made big gains in the House last November.

“Like I said, this has just been an introductory tour I’m giving this morning. This sprawling power grab clocks in at around 570 pages. Seemingly every one of those pages is filled with some effort to rewrite the rules to favor Democrats and their friends. I’d have to say this: my colleagues across the Capitol know what they are after. So I’ll continue to shed light on these far-left proposals many mornings. I want to make sure the American people know what this is all about.  And I want to assure the American people, right from the outset – my colleagues and I will fight to prevent this one-sided power grab. It may pass the House, but not the Senate.”

Related Issues: First Amendment