House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) sent a letter to Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) this afternoon informing them that he intends to send their legislation banning 527 organizations from raising soft money to the House floor for a vote.
The correspondence coincided with a press conference that Shays and Meehan had to denounce a separate bill that the House Administration Committee has already sent for a floor vote. That measure, sponsored by Reps. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Albert Wynn (D-Md.), would allow the national parties to raise significantly more hard money to compete with 527s.
While reiterating his support for the Pence-Wynn approach, Ney wrote that he recognizes that “this is an issue with many divergent points of view, and I believe that those who disagree with me should have an opportunity to be heard.”
Around the same time Ney released his letter, Shays and Meehan delineated just how much they disagree with his and the House GOP leadership’s support for the Pence-Wynn bill.
Along with co-sponsor Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.), the two delivered a detailed critique of the legislation, asserting that the Pence-Wynn bill would allow a single individual to give millions of dollars in an election cycle to candidates and party committees.
Just minutes after the press conference, Shays debated Wynn at a forum sponsored by the Campaign Finance Institute. Wynn made the case that his legislation responds to the almost half a billion dollars in soft money spent last cycle by 527s organizations with more freedom for the political parties to compete.
In concluding his letter to Shays and Meehan, Ney wrote that while he personally believes that “the Pence-Wynn bill is the better way to address the inequalities in the current campaign finance system, I believe that your legislation does raise some important points and I further believe that both of you should have the right to make the case for your legislation before the full House.”