This afternoon, the House of Representatives voted 219 to 205 to defeat H.R. 3991, the Taxpayer Protection and IRS Accountability Act, which contained a provision to create a loophole in the recently approved Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Act by rolling back campaign finance reporting requirements. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) issued the following statement this afternoon.
"Just two weeks after President Bush signed a landmark campaign finance reform bill into law, the Republican leadership once again tried to weaken one of its primary provisions. Today's vote sends a strong message to those extremists in the Republican Party who have repeatedly tried to undermine campaign finance reform: the American people want real campaign finance reform and the majority of their representatives in Congress will mobilize to defend those reforms.
"But the sneaky tactics employed by the Republicans to try to railroad
this vote through the House -- using a bill with a popular-sounding name --
demonstrates that we must remain vigilant to preserve our new campaign finance
reforms and reject any efforts to repeal them.
"Two years ago, Congress voted to require political organizations that are exempt from taxation under Section 527 of the IRS Code to disclose their contributions and expenditures. This should have been made to order for the Republicans, who have long argued that we did not need campaign finance reform -- all we needed was disclosure. And yet this bill would have foiled attempts at disclosure.
"The bill defeated today with the overwhelming support of the Democratic Caucus would have allowed individuals to hide behind groups to influence the political system without disclosing who they are or where they got their money. The Republicans' claim that this was simply an attempt to get rid of duplicative reporting requirements was shown to be a farce when the Republican Leadership would not allow a proposed Democratic amendment that would have eliminated duplication, but still ensured that there would be full disclosure.
"Instead, this bill would have opened up new loopholes in the 527 reporting requirement and created potential for abuse. It was clearly an attempt by opponents of campaign finance reform to begin to erode the excellent provisions of the Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Act. Today's vote prevented that from happening.
"We stand ready to defeat any other tricks from opponents of bipartisan reform."
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