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Jason Grumet: What McConnell Can Do to Improve Elections

RealClearPolitics

Friday, December 19, 2014

Few would describe Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “party animal.” He and President Obama have yet to have their much discussed drink together; the mere act of smiling became an issue in his recent campaign; and McConnell’s election night celebration was described as history’s rowdiest Presbyterian Church mixer. But when it comes to respecting and protecting the critical role of the political parties, McConnell leads the way.

A confluence of decisions over the last decade have significantly weakened the role of political parties and empowered the super PACs, 501(c)(4)s and a variety of other mechanisms that pour vast sums of largely unaccountable resources into our elections. In the just-passed spending bill, McConnell led an effort to lift limits on so-called “soft money” controlled by political party committees. Explained McConnell: “It would strengthen the parties, who have frankly not as much clout anymore. Much of the firepower is now outside the parties.” Leveling the political giving field between the parties and independent political committees addresses one part of the problem. Now Sen McConnell should join with Justice Antonin Scalia and Congressional Democrats in requiring that all political giving be disclosed.

KEYWORDS: CONGRESS, MITCH MCCONNELL, SUPREME COURT, BOB BENNETT, CITIZENS UNITED, BPC OP-EDS