April 18, 2012

Blue Dog Congressman, Facing Tough Election, Complains About Citizens United – But Voted Against Fixing The Problem

Blue Dog Congressman, Facing Tough Election, Complains About Citizens United - But Voted Against Fixing The ProblemHere’s an obvious reason for members of Congress to fix our campaign finance system in the wake of the Citizens United decision: Big, sometimes secret, money can cost them their jobs.

Congressman Tim Holden (D-PA), who is facing a strong challenge from the left in his primary election next week, is also facing a barrage of attack ads from a Super PAC called Campaign for Primary Accountability. The ads are funded by an eccentric millionaire in Texas named Leo Linbeck. Unsurprisingly, Holden’s campaign is decrying the influence of big money in politics:

Holden’s campaign condemned the influence of Super PACs, political organizations that cannot make contributions to candidates, campaigns or parties and must spend contributions independently. Super PACs, which are allowed under a 2010 Supreme Court Decision, give corporations, unions and other organizations the ability to spend unlimited money in an effort to sway the outcome of elections.

“Tim Holden is firmly opposed to Super PACs and believes that voters are supposed to decide elections, not corporations from outside the 17th District,” campaign manager Eric Nagy said.

While most Democrats in Congress (and a few Republicans) have rallied around the need for more disclosure and better campaign finance rules in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow corporate money in elections, the pro-corporate Blue Dog caucus has often sided with big business.

On June 24, 2010, Holden had a chance to weaken to power of Super PACS and add disclosure and new restraints to the campaign finance system when the DISCLOSE Act came up for a vote. The legislation contained a package of campaign finance reforms, including a prohibition of foreign entities from spending on American political campaigns, stopping certain contractors who get large sums of government money from lobbying, and requiring many groups to disclose their funding in campaign materials. Holden, however, sided with corporate lobbyists and most of the GOP in voting no.

Now, he’s complaining.

RELATED: Republic Report questions Tim Holden about his vote to deregulate fracking.

RELATED: One month before the election, Tim Holden sponsors bill to allow farm interests to dump pollution into the Chesapeake Bay; collects cash from big agricultural lobbyists.