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U.S. House approves bill by Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole to end public funding for political conventions

Rep. Tom Cole says national political parties can raise their own money to fund the conventions, held every four years; each party received about $18 million in public money for the conventions that were held in the past few weeks.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: September 20, 2012

— The House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday for a bill authored by Rep. Tom Cole to terminate public financing of national political conventions.

The bill passed 310 to 95 just weeks after the Republican and Democratic parties held their presidential nominating conventions; Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, is sponsoring companion legislation in the Senate.

Cole, R-Moore, who has been working on the issue since 2009, said on the House floor Wednesday that eliminating the funding for the conventions, held every four years, would be a small step toward saving taxpayer money for more pressing needs.

The Republican and Democratic parties received about $18 million each for their conventions this year, Cole said.

“For what?” he said. “Does anybody really believe that's the best use of public money?”

Previous attempts

The public funds comprised about 23 percent of the total costs of the conventions, Cole said, adding that parties were more than capable of raising sufficient private funds.

The House and Senate have already voted in the past year to end public financing of political conventions.

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