Tester: No more taxpayer-funded political conventions
Senator backs bipartisan bill to eliminate public funding of political gatherings
(GREAT FALLS, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester wants to save taxpayers money by making sure they don’t foot the bill for political party conventions.
Tester is backing bipartisan legislation that eliminates taxpayer funding for political party conventions. The Republican and Democratic parties received a total of $36.6 million in taxpayer money for their 2012 nominating conventions.
“Funding for political conventions should come from the folks who support their parties directly, not from American taxpayers,” Tester said. “As Washington makes tough decisions to cut wasteful spending, eliminating funding for political conventions should be one of the first things to go.”
The taxpayer funds come from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. There are few restrictions on how parties spend the money, with previous uses including entertainment, catering, transportation, and hotel costs.
Tester’s bill would eliminate taxpayer funding for all future political party conventions. It would also allow political parties to return any funds remaining from previous conventions and designate those funds for deficit reduction.
Taxpayer funds used for political party nomination conventions totaled more than $220 million between 1976 and 2012.
A similar version of Tester’s bill was overwhelmingly included in the Senate’s bipartisan Farm Bill. The Senate’s five-year plan, which saves $23 billion, has not received a vote in the House of Representatives.
Tester did not attend his own political convention earlier this month, choosing instead to work in Montana.