Mitt v. Mitt: Campaign Finance Reform

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Here we provide a timeline of Mitt Romney’s positions on campaign finance reform.

1994: Mitt Romney spoke about the need to reduce the influence of money in our elections and said he would ban political action committees (PACs). “These kinds of associations between money and politics are in my view wrong and for that reason I would like to have campaign spending limits and to say we are not going to spend more than in certain campaigns... because otherwise I think you have money playing far too important a role,” he said.

2002: Mitt Romney’s plan to fund the state’s Clean Elections public financing program was to take 10% of the contributions made to privately financed candidates. As Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said at the time, “Under the plan, clean elections candidates would be entitled to 10 percent of the campaign funds of candidates who are running under standard campaign rules. The 10 percent would not entirely pay for clean elections campaigns but would supplement public funding.” (Associated Press, 9/8/2002. Accessed via Lexis-Nexis.)

2007: During his first presidential run, Mitt Romney criticized the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (otherwise known as McCain-Feingold). “...McCain-Feingold has not worked. It's hurt my party, it hurts First Amendment rights. I think it was a bad bill,” he said.

July 5, 2011. On the support from outside groups, Romney campaign spokesperson Andrea Saul said, "We are pleased that independent groups will be active in fighting this entrenched power so the country can get back to work.”

July 19, 2011: According to a report from the Center for Public Integrity, "On July 19, Romney attended a private dinner to show his appreciation for about two dozen current and potential donors to his PAC in New York."

December 2011: A super PAC run by Romney’s 2008 political director, Restore Our Future, began spending millions of dollar to defend Romney and fend off his challengers.

December 20, 2011. On an appearance on Morning Joe, Mitt Romney said “I’m not allowed to communicate with the super PAC in any way, shape or form.” He continued, “We really ought to let campaigns raise the money they need and just get rid of these super PACs,” raising the question whether Romney is open to getting rid of contribution limits to candidates—a far cry from his 1994 position that we need “campaign spending limits.”