Battle begins over Democrats’ federal campaign finance reform bill
Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy are considering a move up.

Crist Murphy
The reform package includes a public financing component.

The partisan federal battle over Democrats’ proposal to overhaul campaign finance and federal elections has begun, with a conservative group using social media ads and phone-banking operations to pressure Democratic Reps. Stephanie Murphy and Charlie Crist.

American Action Network ads intend to arouse opposition to House Resolution 1, and thereby discourage moderate, swing-district Democrats from supporting it.

Now emerging as the legislative priority du jour, HR 1  proposes a wide range of reforms in election, campaign, and voter registration laws. They pursue Democrats’ goals of striking down hurdles to voting erected in the name of election security, curbing partisan gerrymandering, reducing states’ options in defining electorates, and curtailing the influence of big money in politics.

The AAN ads go after the bill’s proposed creation of a new federal taxpayer dollars’ matching system for small donations to congressional campaigns. Democrats are pushing it as a way to help balance the influence of the big money spending that corporations and wealthy donors can have through unlimited financing of super PACs. Republicans contend it’s an avenue to corruption and a waste of tax dollars.

“This bill is nothing more than a shameful attempt to shovel public funds to the campaign coffers of corrupt Washington liberals,” AAN President Dan Conston stated in a news release. “Especially in a time of unparalleled health and economic crisis, public funds should be used to help end the suffering of this pandemic — not to help Washington politicians get reelected.”

American Action Network’s advertising campaign began Monday, aimed at 51 House districts. AAN will begin running digital ads in 15 of the districts and kick off a phone call campaign in all 51.

Voters in Murphy’s Florida’s 7th Congressional District, in Seminole and Orange counties, are being targeted with both digital ads and phone calls. Voters in Crist’s Florida’s 13th Congressional District will get AAN phone calls.

“Alert,” the digital ads declare. “Liberals want public money for their campaign.” Rolling text then offers select details: “Up to $5 million”, “Negative TV ads”, and “Luxury hotels.” The ads urge, “Tell Rep. Murphy (or some other targeted Representative) to oppose H.R. 1.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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