Dear Congress: Oppose All Campaign Finance Riders

As the 114th Congress looks to pass a handful of bills and a continuing resolution in the lame duck to fund the government through March, Issue One joins other advocacy organizations to categorically reject all efforts to add campaign finance-related riders to the final legislative measures of this cycle. Legislative riders are controversial provisions that typically would not pass as standalone bills, or are meant to prevent the original bill from being passed in the first place, in which case they are often referred to as “poison pills.”

More than a dozen organizations signed onto a letter declaring that any changes to the nation’s campaign finance system or restrictions related to it must be conducted through the legislative process and regular order, rather than via a “backdoor misuse of the appropriations process.”

Unfortunately, last year “poison pill” riders were forced through to prevent the IRS from issuing new regulations to govern political activities of 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups, and to block the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from issuing a rule requiring public corporations to disclose their political activities to their shareholders.

Almost exactly a year ago, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) responded to questions from reporters about legislation to keep the government open with, “We will have riders. Everybody knows that. We always have.”

Issue One stands ready to work with organizations from both sides of the aisle to ensure no “midnight deals” damage our democracy and fundamentally contradict the values of an open government of, by and for the American people.