Speed Reads

Congress!

Congress' new spending bill would allow wealthy donors to give 10 times more money to political parties

Given the gridlock in Congress, it is somewhat amazing that Democrats and Republicans this week were actually able to agree on a new spending bill that will fund most of the government for the next fiscal year. But when you look into the details, as Bloomberg's Julie Bykowicz has, you'll find that at least one area of agreement is not so surprising:

There's a serious perk for the national political parties tucked inside the federal spending deal that Congress brokered Tuesday night. Wealthy donors would be able to give 10 times as much to these organizations, paying for better political conventions, nicer office renovations and more voter recounts. Seriously.

Congress' gift to the Republican and Democratic national committees is noted toward the end of the omnibus bill, almost as an afterthought, in a section titled "other matters." Right now, individual donors may give the national party committees up to $32,400 per year. The new proposal would allow donors to add gifts of up to $97,200 to each of three causes: presidential nominating conventions, building funds, and legal proceedings, such as recounts. That's a grand total of $324,000 per year. [Bloomberg]

To paraphrase former Justice John Paul Stevens, it seems only Congress thinks one of America's problems is a dearth of money in politics.