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Entries in Conventions (2)

Friday
Jun222012

Senate Votes to End Public Financing for Party Conventions

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The party is over, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., declared on Thursday.

The Senate has voted to end public financing for political party conventions.  The measure passed as an amendment to the Farm Bill by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 95-4.

“Fortunately, the Senate said the ‘party is over’ when it comes to travel and meetings paid for by taxpayers,” Coburn hailed after the vote.  “In these tough times, there is no justification for spending public funds on booze, balloons and confetti when both parties are awash in campaign donations.”

Convention financing comes from the little box on your tax return where taxpayers can dedicate $3 of their income tax to go toward public financing of political campaigns.

Neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney is accepting public financing for their campaign operations.

But as of May, the Republican and Democratic parties have each received checks from the U.S. Treasury for a total of $36.5 million to be spent on their conventions in Charlotte, N.C., and the Tampa, Fla., this summer.  By law, if that money is not spent, it stays in the campaign fund to be used four years later.

Coburn says if this country couldn’t do this small thing then the country is “doomed,” so he was happy with the outcome of Thursday’s vote.

“Ninety-nine percent of the American public has no idea when they check the box that we’re going to take actual American taxpayer dollars and subsidize party conventions for candidates who have better already been decided,” Coburn said moments before the vote on his amendment.

The Farm Bill, which includes the convention measure, still needs to be passed in the House of Representatives before coming law.  It would not take effect until the next general election in 2016.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

Move the Democratic Convention From Charlotte? Not Likely

Marc Piscotty for Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Internet-based protest movement calling for Democrats to move their summer convention from North Carolina appears to be a lost cause.

“The convention is staying in Charlotte,” Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Joanne Peters said an email.

North Carolina voters Tuesday approved a ballot referendum known as Amendment One, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in the Tar Heel state, becoming the 30th state to adopt such a measure. Gay Marriage USA, an advocacy group based in New York, has since launched a petition calling on the DNCC to “move the convention out of North Carolina.”

“On May 8th, the people of North Carolina voted in support of Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that discriminates against LGBT people, couples & their families,” reads the petition posted on change.org. “In protest, the Democratic National Convention Committee should MOVE its convention (September 2012) to a state that upholds values of equality & liberty, and which treats ALL citizens equally.”

The petition has so far gathered more than 28,000 signatures.

The Democrats’ reasoning extends beyond general-election strategy: North Carolina will be a crucial swing state in the fall and moving it so close to the Labor Day start date is impractical.  Conventions are huge undertakings, costing parties millions of dollars and taking months of planning.

“It’s completely impractical to move the convention; there’s absolutely no way you could do it,” said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. “Too much planning has gone into it. You couldn’t find another place where you could make all the arrangements at this time.  Practically speaking, it’s at total nonstarter.”

In addition to the financial losses incurred by the convention committee and the Democratic party, the city of Charlotte would be dealt a big financial blow if the convention were moved, as the event will likely have a huge, positive, economic impact on the city. In 2008, the Democratic National Convention brought an estimated economic benefit of $226 million to the Denver area, according to a report released by then Denver Mayor, now Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper.

Furthermore, a majority of voters in Mecklenburg County, where Charlotte is located, voted against the ban on same-sex marriage. About 54 percent of the vote in Mecklenburg was against Amendment One, while about 46 percent of the voting population supported it, according to the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio