Senate Rules Holds Hearing on the Corrupt Politicians Act

Earlier today, the Senate Rules Committee held a hearing on the Corrupt Politicians Act. As Senator Cruz pointed out, Democrats have made keeping themselves in power their #1 priority for this Congress despite the myriad of important issues facing the country.

The first half of the hearing mainly focussed on election administration issues. The Republican witnesses included West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner and Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita. The Democrat witnesses included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, and Brennan Center President Michael Waldman.

Secretary of State Benson was a particularly interesting choice by the Democrats considering 

Some highlights from the first part of the hearing: 

The second half of the hearing focussed on the effects of the Corrupt Politicians Act on campaign finance and the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The Democrats called former FEC Chair and President of Campaign Legal Center Trevor Potter, Director of Democracy 21 Fred Wertheimer, and President and Executive Director of End Citizens United/Let America Vote Action Fund Tiffany Muller.

The Republicans called RNLA Board member Lee Goodman and Chairman of the Institute for Free Speech Brad Smith. Both formerly chaired the FEC.

The testimony submitted to the Committee by Goodman highlights the far-reaching effects the the Corrupt Politicians Act would have on the current campaign finance system and, most importantly, Americans' freedom of speech:

Indeed, S. 1 proposes many restrictions on the right of the American people to speak about issues and politicians, hear ideas, and associate freely. It exposes Americans to an unprecedented system of mandatory public doxing and exposure when they desire to spend as little as $500 to discuss sensitive policy issues. It likewise imposes new civil and criminal liability on American media companies, which will push many media companies to eliminate low-cost online advertising platforms from populist organizations for political messages. Some already have closed their platforms to political advertising. S. 1 would hasten more such closures and deplatforming of populist political speech.

Many of the bill’s core provisions are vague and untested. Many of its predicate findings and justifications are outdated or simply incorrect. If enacted many of the bill’s provisions would be challenged immediately and likely ruled unconstitutional.

At a time of intense political polarization, when “cancel culture” and “call out tactics” and political polarization and intolerance are at their zenith, this bill exacerbates all of these social problems. At a time when legislators around the country are demanding greater privacy protections by social media companies, this bill goes in the opposite direction and compels public exposure of citizens’ speech and associations. At a time when people distrust government, this bill would foment greater distrust about the fairness and bi-partisanship of the FEC.

Ranking Member Blunt echoed both Smith and Goodman's concerns about the Corrupt Politicians Act's effects on the FEC:

As the Republican Senators repeatedly highlighted during today's hearing, there's no reason to federalize our elections. The testimony showed how state control of elections is working and that changes to the campaign finance system would be at the expense of our freedom of speech.