The League sent a letter to the U.S. House urging Representatives to cosponsor and support HR 425, the "Stop Super PAC--Candidate Coordination Act." Members of the LWVUS Lobby Corps will also deliver this letter in their visits to select office on Capitol Hill.


 

April 16, 2015

TO:  Members of the House of Representatives

FROM:  Elisabeth MacNamara, President

RE:  Stop Super PAC -- Candidate Coordination Act, HR 425

The League of Women Voters strongly urges you to cosponsor and support HR 425, the “Stop Super PAC -- Candidate Coordination Act” introduced by Representatives David Price and Chris Van Hollen.  The legislation would stop Super PACs from circumventing candidate contribution limits and strengthen the rules prohibiting coordination between candidates and outside spending groups.   

The explosive growth of Super PACs is undermining the integrity and effectiveness of our Nation’s anti-corruption campaign finance laws.  These PACs raise and spend unlimited contributions and serve as vehicles for donors and candidates to bypass and eviscerate the contribution limits that apply to a candidate’s campaign – limits enacted by Congress and upheld by the Supreme Court to prevent corruption.

In the 2012 election, virtually every presidential campaign was the beneficiary of a dedicated, individual-candidate Super PAC set up to support that candidate.  The campaigns worked closely with their dedicated Super PACs, which were often run by close political and personal associates of the candidates.  Presidential candidates solicited funds for their dedicated Super PACs and met with its large donors.  

In 2014, the use of individual-candidate Super PACs spread to congressional races, with some 100 individual-candidate Super PACs established to support Senate and House candidates.  2016 promises to be worse, with many, if not most candidates exploiting this loophole.  

We urge you to strengthen coordination rules to stop Super PACS, including individual-candidate Super PACs, from evading the law.  For example, the following should be treated as coordinated:   Super PACs established at the suggestion of a candidate or agent; those managed or advised by close associates; those where a candidate or agent is involved in fundraising; or those where a candidate or campaign discusses the campaign with the Super PAC or an outside spending group.  

Since coordinated expenditures are treated by law as in-kind contributions to the candidate, these new coordination rules would bring Super PACs back into the contribution limit system and help protect against corruption of public officials. 

As a practical matter, Super PACs are evading the law that is intended to block huge and corrupting campaign contributions.  We ask that you work to establish real-world, common-sense definitions of corruption in order to close this massive loophole.