fb tracking

Anti-Democracy Riders Removed From House FSGG Approps Bill

Win for the Public, Clean and Secure Elections

Note: Three anti-democracy poison pill riders were removed from the U.S. House Financial Services and General Government FY 2020 appropriations package, which is being marked up in subcommittee today. The first rider prevented the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS from clarifying the definition of political activity to reduce abuses by those willing to spend secret money in elections. The second rider prevented the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from finalizing rules that would reveal how big donors and corporations are spending in elections. The third rider prohibited federal contractors from being required to disclose their political spending. The appropriations bill also includes funding for election security upgrades.

“The For the People Act (H.R. 1), which passed in March, laid down a marker against three anti-democracy poison pills that were embedded in federal spending bills. It is wonderful to see House lawmakers following through on the commitment they made with their vote by removing these measures from this year’s appropriations bill. This puts House negotiators in a strong position to demand that these poison pills stay out of the final spending package. Happily, the bill also includes a down payment on much-needed election security upgrades for states and localities that run federal elections, as attacks on our voting systems remain an ever-present danger.”

  • Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs, Public Citizen

“The SEC and federal contractor riders shielded major corporations from having to be honest with their shareholders, customers and the public about the money they spend to influence politics. The removal of this language shows what’s possible when Congress works for the American people, not wealthy corporations. Now it’s up to the Senate to show the same leadership and put our democracy first.”

  • Rachel Curley, democracy associate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“The (c)(4) rider made it impossible for the IRS to put in place better rules for nonprofit political activity, despite mounting evidence over the past few years that stronger rules were needed to prevent abuses. Once the rider is removed for good, we hope that Treasury will restart the rulemaking that got shut down by this rider in 2015 and finally put in place clear, understandable rules that promote civic participation and confront abuses.”

  • Emily Peterson-Cassin, Bright Lines Project coordinator, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division

“The $600 million of funding in support of states and localities for election security is an important step toward closing an enormous gap for states that haven’t yet upgraded to paper ballot voting systems, rigorous post-election audit and more secure registration systems. Both Republicans and Democrats have called for sustained funding that states and localities can use to fill security gaps. These funds are desperately needed to secure the vote. Congress should act on this as soon as possible.”

  • Aquene Freechild, campaign co-director, Democracy Is For People campaign