WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) yesterday introduced H.R. 5956, the Eliminating Leftover Expenses for Campaigns from Taxpayers (ELECT) Act of 2020, a bill that would eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and redirect its funds to pay down the federal deficit. The account that provides this funding has more than $350 million, and hasn’t been used by a successful candidate for President in 16 years. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate earlier this year.
“The Presidential Election Campaign Fund has become a relic of the past,” said Rep. Gallagher. “Common-sense Wisconsinites expect the government to be responsible with their money, and it only makes sense that the hundreds of millions of dollars in this long-unused fund are diverted towards paying down our nation’s ever-growing debt, not towards any Presidential candidate’s self-promotion tour.”
Current law allows for candidates running for President to receive public funding if they agree to limit private donations and overall campaign spending. A check-off on individual income tax returns allows taxpayers to direct $3 from their federal tax bills to this program, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund:
A few quick facts about the use and waste involved with the Presidential Election Campaign Fund:
- It has been 16 years since a candidate receiving public funding was elected president. During that time, more than $100 million has been spent on the campaigns of losing candidates.
- No candidate running for president this year has applied for support from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.
- More than $356 million is currently sitting in the fund, an amount that is likely to grow since it can’t even be given away.
- Over the past fifty years, more than $1.6 billion in taxpayer money has been doled out to presidential campaigns and political party conventions from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.