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Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Tom Cole hail bill to end political convention funding

Oklahoma lawmakers have worked for years to cut off taxpayer funding for national political conventions and praise Congress for passing bill to redirect money to pediatric disease research
by Chris Casteel Published: March 12, 2014

— A bill approved by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday achieves a goal long sought by Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. Tom Cole — abolishing taxpayer funding of national political conventions.

The legislation, which would redirect money for the conventions to pediatric disease research, was approved by the House in December and now goes to the president for his signature.

Cole, R-Moore, has been working since 2009 to end the funding, which amounted to $36 million in 2012 for the Democratic and Republican parties’ national conventions. The House and Senate have previously approved legislation by Cole and Coburn to end the convention funding, but this is the first time a final version has cleared both houses.

The conventions are held every four years to officially nominate the parties’ presidential candidates. However, the nominating has become a formality for the past few decades, as the candidates have had the support sewn up for months, and the conventions have become made-for-television showcases for parties’ campaign themes.

“As a former chief of staff at the Republican National Committee, I know firsthand that political party conventions can be funded easily by private sources alone,” Cole said Tuesday.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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