Today a bipartisan group of 58 members of Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus signed on to comments submitted to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) calling on the agency to open a rulemaking to close the personal use loophole for leadership PACs.
“We have a unique perspective on America’s campaign finance system and the need for regulations that are both effective and practical. When the law creating political action committees was drafted, its authors could not have envisioned the rise of leadership PACs in American politics,” they said.
“These lavish purchases unfortunately paint Congress as a place ridden with bad actors seeking to personally benefit from their political funds,” the comments continued. “Closing this loophole would strengthen our nation’s campaign finance system and help assure the American people that their elected leaders are honorable public servants, as we know the majority of them are.”
Signers onto the FEC comments include ReFormers Caucus members and former Representatives Charles Bass (R-NH), Bill Brock (R-TN), Vic Fazio (D-CA), Ray LaHood (R-IL), Connie Morella (R-MD), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Tim Roemer (D-IN), Chris Shays (R-CT), David Skaggs (D-CO), Zach Wamp (R-TN) and former Senators Dan Glickman (D-KS), Mark Udall (D-CO), Al Simpson (R-WY), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Tom Daschle (D-SD), among others.
Leadership PACs were originally ushered into existence so that officeholders could make contributions to their colleagues as they climbed the leadership ladder in the House and Senate, and many of these former lawmakers had leadership PACs while serving. However, over the past five years, a majority of leadership PAC funds controlled by members of Congress have been used for expenses that could constitute personal use, such as meals, stays at five-star resorts, and tickets to highly coveted events or golf memberships, according to research by Issue One and the Campaign Legal Center. Only 45 percent of leadership PAC spending went toward contributions to other federal candidates or political action committees.