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CRS Report on Presidential Convention Funding 2012

CRS Report on Presidential Convention Funding 2012

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Published by Sunlight Foundation
Latest CRS report on taxpayer funding of presidential nominating conventions, courtesy of the office of Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.
Latest CRS report on taxpayer funding of presidential nominating conventions, courtesy of the office of Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa.

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Published by: Sunlight Foundation on Aug 28, 2012
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09/17/2012

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CRS Report for Congress
 Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress
Federal Funding of Presidential NominatingConventions: Overview and Policy Options
R. Sam Garrett
Specialist in American National Government
Shawn Reese
Analyst in Emergency Management and Homeland Security Policy June 28, 2012
Congressional Research Service
7-5700www.crs.govRL34630
 
 Federal Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: Overview and Policy OptionsCongressional Research Service
Summary
This report provides an overview and analysis of two recurring questions surrounding the federalgovernment’s role in financing presidential nominating conventions. First, how much publicfunding supports presidential nominating conventions? Second, what options exist for changingthat amount if Congress chooses to do so? In the 112
th
Congress, both chambers have passedseparate bills to eliminate non-security funding.In the Senate, an amendment (containing text from S. 3257) to the 2012 Agriculture Reform,Food and Jobs Act, S. 3240, would eliminate the convention funding portion of the presidential public financing program, which funds various convention activities but typically not security.The legislation passed the Senate on June 21, 2012. Separately, S. 194 proposes to eliminate theentire public financing program. Another Senate bill, S. 3312, would reform the public financing program partially by eliminating convention funding.Two measures that would eliminate convention funding have passed the House. The chamber  passed H.R. 359 in January 2011. In December 2011, the House passed H.R. 3463. Both wouldeliminate the entire public financing program. H.R. 5912 would eliminate only conventionfinancing. H.R. 414 would reform the public financing system but eliminate conventionfinancing. These measures do not appear to affect separate security funding discussed in thisreport.The 112
th
Congress enacted one law (P.L. 112-55) in FY2012 that affected convention securityfunding with the appropriation of $100 million for the Democratic and Republican nominatingconventions (each was allocated $50 million). This security funding was not provided to partyconvention committees but to the state and local law enforcement entities assisting in securing theconvention sites.The 2012 Democratic and Republican convention committees each have received grants, financedwith public funds, of approximately $18.2 million (for a total of approximately $36.5 million, asrounded). These funds will go toward political activities at the conventions rather than security. Atotal of approximately $133.6 million in federal funds supported the 2008 Democratic andRepublican conventions. Such funding was provided through separate federal programs thatsupport public financing of presidential campaigns and convention security.Some Members of Congress and others have objected to federal convention funding and haveargued that the events should be entirely self-supporting. Others, however, contend that publicfunding is necessary to avoid real or apparent corruption in this aspect of the presidentialnominating process. If Congress decides to revisit convention financing, a variety of policyoptions discussed in this report might present alternatives to current funding arrangements.Additional discussion of public financing of presidential campaigns appears in CRS ReportRL34534,
 Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns: Overview and Analysis
, by R. SamGarrett and CRS Report R41604,
 Proposals to Eliminate Public Financing of Presidential Campaigns
, by R. Sam Garrett. For additional information on National Special Security Events,which include presidential nominating conventions, see CRS Report RS22754,
 National Special Security Events
, by Shawn Reese. This report will be updated in the event of additional legislativeactivity concerning convention financing.
 
 Federal Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: Overview and Policy OptionsCongressional Research Service
Contents
Introduction......................................................................................................................................1
 
Convention Financing: An Overview..............................................................................................1
 
Federal Funds......................................................................................................................1
 
 Nonfederal Funds................................................................................................................6
 
Recent Legislative Activity..............................................................................................................8
 
Legislation That Would Affect PECF Convention Funding......................................................8
 
Policy Issues and Options................................................................................................................9
 
PECF Convention Funding........................................................................................................9
 
Maintaining the Status Quo.................................................................................................9
 
Options that Could Increase or Decrease Federal Convention Funding ............................9
 
Security Funds.........................................................................................................................11
 
Maintaining the Status Quo...............................................................................................12
 
Options that Could Increase or Decrease Federal Convention Security Funding.............12
 
Conclusion.....................................................................................................................................13
 
Tables
Table 1. Federal Funds Supporting the 2012 Presidential Nominating Conventions......................3
 
Contacts
Author Contact Information...........................................................................................................13
 

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