Republicans and Democrats Increase Donation Limits for Themselves

On Saturday, December 13, when people were likely more interested in the Army vs. Navy football game than what Congress was up to, the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion spending bill — colloquially known as the cromnibus. As a result, the government will not shutdown. Crisis adverted, right? Not exactly.

There is a bigger crisis that was only highlighted by how the spending bill was passed, and will only be exacerbated by what lawmakers wanted to keep hidden in the bill for as long as possible. While there are certainly outrageous, odd, and useless provisions in the spending bill, the mainstream media has largely ignored efforts to enhance the influence and power political parties have over the election process even more.

Located on page 1,599 of the over 1,600-page spending bill, a provision raises the donation limit for individual contributions to separate RNC and DNC accounts to $32,400 per year (three times the previous limit) for general support. This is the limit on just one account and both parties have three of these:

  • Democratic National Committee
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Republican National Committee
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • National Republican Congressional Committee

So, a single individual could theoretically donate $97,200 to these accounts every year just for general support — that is almost $200,000 over a two-year period.

Additionally, for the national party, big donors can designate $97,200 separately for party conventions, building expenses, and expenses for recounts and legal fees. For the Senate and House party committees, individuals can designate $97,200 separately to building expenses and expenses for recounts and legal fees.

In total, an individual could theoretically donate over $1.5 million to these three party committees over a two-year period, according to Common Cause. The organization goes further, saying that the limit is actually $5 million over an election cycle after McCutcheon v. FEC.

There is a crisis in American politics. With increased partisanship in Washington, we are seeing special interests — including the interests of political parties — designated by lawmakers as a much higher priority than having a real discussion about what the nation needs and how Congress should fund the government.

The Republican and Democratic parties control the elections. They’ve been fighting laws that give independent voters better access to elections while increasing ballot access requirements for third parties at the same time. Heavily gerrymandered districts are drawn to favor the majority party in a state while rendering the votes of citizens outside the party meaningless and keeping over 90 percent of elections uncompetitive.

In an environment where tens of millions of voters are either disenfranchised or disenchanted by a system that offers no real hope of change and no real voice for a majority of people, political organizations launch negative attack ads that appeal to the most partisan of voters while encouraging many people not to vote, increasing the power money has on elections.

Political parties are private corporations and they are representing fewer and fewer people. Yet, partisan lawmakers added a provision to an appropriations bill that will allow them to raise even more money than anyone else, manipulating elections even more to protect a two-party system that was created by the two dominant parties, not the U.S. Constitution.

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