Democrat Politician Protection Act: Dems Use The Law To Fund Their Campaigns And Intimidate Their Opponents

The Democrat Politician Protection Act Passed In The House Allows Democrats To Use Public Money To Pay For Their Political Campaigns, Transforms The FEC Into A Partisan Weapon With Dramatically Expanded Powers To Police Americans’ Political Speech, And Forces Private Donor Disclosures That Would Invite Public Political Attacks And Intimidation


SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[Democrats are] recycl[ing] failed legislation that would have Washington Democrats grab unprecedented power over how America conducts its elections and how American citizens can engage in political speech…. This year’s version of the House Democrats’ legislation contains the same bad ideas as their effort two years ago. For example: When the Federal Election Commission was created after Watergate with the sensitive job of regulating American politics, it was designed to require bipartisan consensus. House Democrats want to scrap those rules and turn the FEC from an even-numbered bipartisan body to an odd-numbered partisan body so Democrats can dominate it. Then they want to hand that newly-partisan FEC new authorities to scrutinize and regulate an even wider share of political speech and private citizens’ activities.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/12/2021)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “This is a power grab. It’s that simple. They want to install a permanent partisan majority in the United States when it comes to voting in elections.” (“Cornyn: HR1 Election Bill A ‘Power Grab’ Aimed At ‘Permanent Partisan Majority,’” Fox News, 3/14/2021)

SEN. ROGER WICKER (R-MS): “Recently, House Democrats passed H.R. 1, an aggressive and far-reaching bill that would give the federal government unprecedented control over our elections, which have always been run by the states…. [I]t would deal a devastating blow to election security and further erode public confidence in our elections…. In addition, H.R. 1 would destroy the bipartisan balance on the Federal Elections Commission by cutting the number of commissioners from six to five, ensuring that one party can control the commission’s agenda. This is an obvious partisan attempt to nationalize America’s election system and remove important protections for voters.” (Sen. Wicker, Press Release, 3/08/2021)


In Passing The Democrat Politician Protection Act, Designated H.R. 1, Democrats Demonstrated Their First Priority, Even Before Legislation On The Minimum Wage, Immigration, Or Infrastructure, Was To Use The Public Fisc To Pay For Their Own Campaigns

HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER KEVIN McCARTHY (R-CA): “This legislation is the Democrats’ most pressing priority. Every single Democrat is a cosponsor. Democrats made this bill H.R. 1, which is reserved for the bills the majority thinks is the most important.” (Rep. McCarthy, Remarks, 3/02/2021)

  • “The government reform bill, which carries the high-ranking priority of H.R. 1, is a top legislative goal for progressive Democrats …” (Politico, 3/01/2021)

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD: “H.R.1 would create a scheme of public funds to match small political donations at a 6-to-1 rate. Give your guy $200, and he might get $1,200 from the government.” (Editorial, “Making Every Election Like 2020,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/01/2021)

  • “The For the People Act of 2021, known as H.R. 1… would provide public matching funds for qualifying congressional and presidential candidates at a rate of 6:1, among many other provisions. The 6:1 match would kick in for each grassroots contribution to a candidate up to $200. For example, a $200 donation to a House candidate would garner a $1,200 match in public funds for a total contribution of $1,400. The program would begin in the 2028 election cycle and would be voluntary. Candidates would opt in by meeting donation qualifications and would be subject to certain contribution limits.” (“House Democrats’ H.R. 1 Would Create New Public Financing Of Congressional Campaigns,” Fox News, 3/03/2021)

House Democrats Unanimously Rejected An Opportunity To Strip Out Government Financing For Their Own Political Campaigns

REP. RODNEY DAVIS (R-IL), House Administration Committee Ranking Member: “This bill isn’t for the people. It’s for the politicians. This is why I am offering a Motion to Recommit so that we can put forward a bill that works for the American people. Madam Speaker, if we adopt this Motion to Recommit, we will instruct the Committee on House Administration to consider an amendment to remove all public financing from this legislation…. It’s one reason I am opposed to H.R. 1 and giving Democrats another chance to join me in stopping this charade -- stopping enriching themselves and their own campaign. This is one last chance before you do it again.” (Rep. Davis, Press Release, 3/03/2021)

  • REP. DAVIS: “[O]ver the last couple of days, I have spoken a lot about my opposition to this bill’s creation of a public fund filled with dollars from corporate finance to directly fund the campaign coffers of every member of this institution and candidates. And my Democratic colleagues who continue to say this is not public funding or corporate donations because it is corporate fines. So what is the truth? … [I]t is really a laundering machine. So they launder that money, that corporate money that we cannot accept right now, into the Treasury … this new laundered money, this taxpayer money, because it’s public, it’s under the control of us, then goes out exponentially to all of us, to our campaigns to pay for attack ads, fundraisers, mailers, phone calls, whatever you want. But either way, it’s government spending -- government spending, corporate dollars directly to us. This is and should be prohibited. But H.R. 1 changes that. It puts more money into politics and not less.” (Rep. Davis, Press Release, 3/03/2021)

Every single House Democrat voted against Rep. Rodney Davis’ (R-IL) motion, ensuring their legislation would allow public money to flow into politicians’ campaign coffers. (H.R.1, Roll Call Vote #61: Motion rejected 210-219: D 0-219; R 210-0, 3/03/2021)


The Democrat Politician Protection Act Turns The FEC ‘Into A Partisan Weapon’: ‘If Congress Wanted To Destroy Confidence In The Fairness Of American Elections, It Is Hard To Imagine A Better First Step Than To Eviscerate The FEC’s Bipartisan Structure’

SEN. McCONNELL: “[A]mong the many fairly blatant power plays built into this legislation is a naked attempt to turn our neutral Federal Election Commission into a partisan weapon…. [T]he Democrat Politician Protection Act would take the FEC down to a five-member body and give sitting presidents the power to appoint the chairperson -- who holds the keys to determine who to investigate and what enforcement to pursue. The evenness of the FEC is a vital way to ensuring Americans’ political speech — and campaigns for public office — are regulated fairly and evenhandedly. Of course that needs to be done on a bipartisan basis. But the Democrats want to throw that right out the window and carve out a partisan majority on this crucial commission.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/13/2019)

NINE FORMER FEC COMMISSIONERS: “[H.R. 1] would transform the FEC from a bipartisan, six-member body to a five-member body subject to, and indeed designed for, partisan control…. If Congress wanted to destroy confidence in the fairness of American elections, it is hard to imagine a better first step than to eviscerate the FEC’s bipartisan structure.” (9 Former FEC Commissioners, Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Rep. McCarthy, and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 2/09/2021)

  • “We write out of deep concern for the threat that the self-styled ‘For the People Act’ (H.R. 1 and S. 1 in the current Congress …) poses to the long-standing bipartisan structure of the Federal Election Commission a concern based on our many years of experience as commissioners of the FEC…. We are all former members of the FEC. Collectively, we have over six decades of service on the Commission. Most of us served as Chair of the FEC, and at least one of us was serving on the Commission at all times between 1998 and 2020.” (9 Former FEC Commissioners, Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Rep. McCarthy, and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 2/09/2021)
  • “By definition, campaign finance law inserts the government into partisan electoral disputes. In our experience, the agency’s bipartisan structure both assures that the laws are enforced with bipartisan support and equally important, that they are not perceived as a partisan tool of the majority party—an electoral weapon, if you will. ‘The indispensable ingredient in the FEC’s creation was its bipartisan makeup,’ with an equal number of members from each major party and a voting structure requiring some minimal measure of bipartisan agreement before an enforcement action went forward or a rule was adopted. As Senator Alan Cranston (D-Calif.) explained during post-Watergate Congressional debates about the agency’s creation: ‘We must not allow the FEC to become a tool for harassment.’” (9 Former FEC Commissioners, Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Rep. McCarthy, and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 2/09/2021)
  • “[W]e believe that [H.R. 1], by shifting the Commission from a bipartisan, six-member body to a five-member body subject to partisan control, would be highly detrimental to the agency’s credibility. It would lead to more partisanship in enforcement and in regulatory matters, shattering public confidence in the decisions of the FEC. The Commission depends on bipartisan support and universal regard for the fairness of its actions. The [bill] frustrates these goals with likely ruinous effect on our political system.” (9 Former FEC Commissioners, Letter to Speaker Pelosi, Rep. McCarthy, and Sens. Schumer and McConnell, 2/09/2021)

Congress Originally Designed The FEC As Bipartisan And ‘Even-Numbered’ ‘To Properly Insulate The Campaign Finance Agency From Political Pressures’

“More than 40 years ago, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and related amendments. Today, the FEC is responsible for administering disclosure of millions of campaign finance transactions; interpretation and civil enforcement of FECA and agency regulations; and administering the presidential public financing program. Six presidentially appointed commissioners, who are subject to Senate advice and consent, head the FEC. No more than three members may be affiliated with the same political party. Congress arrived at this bipartisan, even-numbered structure amid debate over how to properly insulate the campaign finance agency from political pressures.” (“The Federal Election Commission: Overview and Selected Issues for Congress,” Congressional Research Service, 12/22/2015)

SEN. ALAN CRANSTON (D-CA), 1976: “We must not allow the FEC to become a tool for harassment by future imperial presidents who may seek to repeat the abuses of Watergate. I understand and share the great concern expressed by some of our colleagues that the FEC has such a potential for abuse in our democratic society that the president should not be given power over the Commission.” (U.S. Senate Rules and Administration Committee, Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections, 2/18/1976)


The Democrat Politician Protection Act Would Then Expand The Newly Partisan FEC’s Power To Regulate Vast Swathes Of Political Speech

SEN. McCONNELL: “Democrats are also coming after Americans’ free speech. The Federal Election Commission was set up after Watergate to be a bipartisan panel by design. The FEC intentionally needs bipartisan consensus to throw a penalty flag. Washington Democrats want to scrap that. Their bill would convert the FEC into an odd-numbered, partisan body. And this partisan FEC would get even greater scope to nose around in even more of Americans’ speech and activities.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/04/2021)

INSTITUTE FOR FREE SPEECH: “H.R. 1 would: Unconstitutionally regulate speech that mentions a federal candidate or elected official at any time under a vague, subjective, and dangerously broad standard that asks whether the speech ‘promotes,’ ‘attacks,’ ‘supports,’ or ‘opposes’ (‘PASO’) the candidate or official. This standard is impossible to understand and would likely regulate any mention of an elected official who hasn’t announced their retirement.” (“Analysis of H.R. 1 (Part One):’For the People Act’ Is Replete with Provisions for the Politicians,” Institute for Free Speech, 2/2021)


Democrats’ Partisan Bill Also Includes Their Perennial Attempt To Force Organizations To Publicize Their Donors In Order To Open Them Up To Political Attacks, Something Even The ACLU Opposes

SEN. McCONNELL: “The bill also tramples on citizens’ privacy with new mandates that would intensify ‘cancel culture’ and help mobs harass people for their private views.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 3/04/2021)

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION (ACLU): “Unfortunately, the DISCLOSE Act of 2019 [included in H.R. 1] reaches beyond those bounds, and, like its predecessors, strikes the wrong balance between the public’s interest in knowing who supports or opposes candidates for office and the vital associational privacy rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The upshot of the DISCLOSE Act, and the essence of why we oppose it, is that it would chill the speech of issue advocacy groups and non-profits such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, or the NRA that is essential to our public discourse and protected by the First Amendment.” (ACLU, Letter to Reps. McGovern and Cole, 3/01/2019)

  • ACLU: “[T]he bill would also require disclosure of an overbroad number of donors. Even with the $10,000 trigger, many donors to issue advocacy organizations may be surprised to find themselves held responsible for communications they may not know about, or, potentially, even support. It is unfair to hold donors responsible for every communication in which an organization engages. Moreover, it is unclear how such an overbroad requirement serves the government’s interest in providing the electorate information about who is supporting or opposing a candidate for office. The Constitution requires a healthy respect for associational privacy. In NAACP v. Alabama, the Supreme Court recognized that “[i]nviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs.”18For that reason alone, we should be very cautious when contemplating invasions of that privacy. Because the DISCLOSE Act would expose the private associations of an overbroad number of donors, it fails to respect this first constitutional principle.” (ACLU, Letter to Reps. McGovern and Cole, 3/01/2019)

The Supreme Court Is Currently Considering A Case Where California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Is Defending A California Law Compelling Disclosure Requirements That Even Liberal Groups Say  ‘Dramatically Increases The Risk Of Private Retaliation Against The Members And Supporters Of Potentially Controversial Groups [And] Is More Likely To Chill The Exercise Of Associational Freedoms’

Amicus Brief from the ACLU, NAACP LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, KNIGHT FIRST AMENDMENT INSTITUTE AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN (HRC), and the PEN AMERICAN CENTER: “The disclosure law at issue here, at least as it has been implemented by California, risks undermining the freedom to associate for expressive purposes. That freedom, in turn, is fundamental to our democracy, and has long been protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. A critical corollary of the freedom to associate is the right to maintain the confidentiality of one’s associations, absent a strong governmental interest in disclosure. If the State could categorically demand disclosure of associational information, the ability of citizens to organize to defend values out of favor with the majority would be seriously diminished. As this Court recognized in NAACP v. Alabama ex rel. Patterson,357 U.S. 449 (1958),the compelled disclosure of an expressive association’s members or supporters threatens to chill free association, because people may refrain from exercising those freedoms rather than expose themselves to government reprisal or private retaliation…. In general, the compelled disclosure of associational information to the public dramatically increases the risk of private retaliation against the members and supporters of potentially controversial groups, is more likely to chill the exercise of associational freedoms …” (“Brief Amici Curiae Of The American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Inc., Naacp Legal Defense And Educational Fund, Inc., Knight First Amendment Institute At Columbia University, Human Rights Campaign, And Pen American Center, Inc., In Support Of Petitioners,” Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Becerra, Nos. 19-251 & 19-255, Supreme Court of the United States, 3/01/2021)


‘Organized Campaigns To Publicly Attack … Political Donors Have Sparked Growing Concern’ Because ‘Donor Information Is Being Weaponized’

“Organized campaigns to publicly attack President Trump’s political donors have sparked growing concern among conservatives and advocates of greater transparency in political giving, who say donor information is being weaponized ahead of the presidential election. The efforts — along with the increasingly available information online about donors giving as little as $1 — have reignited questions about how much transparency is too much and whether the laws governing the balance between transparency and privacy are adequate and relevant.” (“Trump’s Critics Are Targeting His Donors, Sparking Fears Of A Backlash Against Disclosure,” The Washington Post, 9/10/2019)

  • “The latest attacks on Trump’s supporters have been directed at attendees or hosts of his reelection fundraisers, where people pay up to six figures to schmooze with the president. Last month, news about a high-dollar fundraiser at the Hamptons home of billionaire Stephen Ross prompted a national boycott of his businesses, including the luxury fitness brands SoulCycle and Equinox. News of the fundraiser went viral among SoulCycle’s liberal clientele, and attendance declined 6 to 7.5 percent in the following weeks, according to an analysis by Vox.” (“Trump’s Critics Are Targeting His Donors, Sparking Fears Of A Backlash Against Disclosure,” The Washington Post, 9/10/2019)

Recent Instances Of Troubling Political Attacks On Donors Include A Sitting Democrat Congressman Attempting To Intimidate His Own Constituents For Donating To President Trump …

“Transparency advocates pointed to [an] episode involving a tweet by Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.) as particularly concerning. Castro tweeted a list of Trump donors in his district and their employers, blaming them for ‘fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’” (“Trump’s Critics Are Targeting His Donors, Sparking Fears Of A Backlash Against Disclosure,” The Washington Post, 9/10/2019)

  • REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): “Sad to see so many San Antonians as 2019 maximum donors to Donald Trump — the owner of @BillMillerBarBQ, owner of the @HistoricPearl, realtor Phyllis Browning, etc. Their contributions are fueling a campaign of hate that labels Hispanic immigrants as ‘invaders.’” (Rep. Castro, @Castro4Congress, Twitter, 8/05/2019)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “This is grossly inappropriate… win-at-all-costs mentality, publicly targeting an opponent’s supporters, and encouraging retaliation is dangerous and not what Texans have a right to expect from their members of Congress.” (“Joaquin Castro Tweeted The Names Of Top Trump Donors. Republicans Say It Will Encourage Violence,” The Washington Post, 8/07/2019)

HOUSE REPUBLICAN WHIP STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): “People should not be personally targeted for their political views. Period… This isn’t a game. It’s dangerous, and lives are at stake. I know this firsthand.” (“Joaquin Castro Tweeted The Names Of Top Trump Donors. Republicans Say It Will Encourage Violence,” The Washington Post, 08/07/2019)

… And An Idaho Businessman Being Singled Out As A Donor To Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign, Resulting In His Being Audited By The Obama Administration IRS And Labor Department

“An Idaho businessman singled out by the Obama campaign for giving $1 million in support of Mitt Romney is now the focus of IRS and Labor Department audits. Frank VanderSloot, in an interview with FoxNews.com on Tuesday, said he received the initial audit notice from the IRS last month. Two weeks later, he got one from the Labor Department stating the agency would be looking into records related to foreign employees working at his Idaho Falls cattle ranch. It might all be a coincidence, he said -- but the timing was peculiar. VanderSloot gave the pro-Romney money last year to the super PAC ‘Restore of Future.’ Then in April, he was identified along with seven other donors on an Obama campaign website as ‘wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records.’ At the time, VanderSloot spoke out and accused the campaign of targeting him unfairly. Then came the audits.” (“Romney Donor Bashed By Obama Campaign Now Target Of Two Federal Audits,” Fox News, 7/25/2012)

  • “VanderSloot expected some scrutiny, considering he is a co-chairman on the Romney campaign, and years of contributing to state and national races had already exposed him to the rough-and-tumble world of politics. He has also been targeted by liberal bloggers and an opposition research team that directed an investigator to poke around his local courthouse, looking at divorce records and other cases. Yet VanderSloot, owner of the Melaleuca wellness product company,  never expected to be branded on an presidential campaign website as a ‘litigious, combative and bitter foe of the gay rights movement.’” (“Romney Donor Bashed By Obama Campaign Now Target Of Two Federal Audits,” Fox News, 7/25/2012)



Related Issues: First Amendment, Campaigns & Elections