Tom Coburn is asking the Democratic and Republican parties to give back more than $36 million in taxpayer money they are planning on using for this summer’s national conventions.
Senator Coburn (R-Okla) wrote the letters, given to each party’s chair on Thursday, after Congress discovered that the General Services Administration spent more than $800,000 on a party in Las Vegas, complete with a mind reader and bicycle clinics.
Huffington Post reports that Coburn wrote in the letter:
“Can we agree once and for all the party is over when it comes to travel and meetings paid for by the taxpayers?”
The letter, sent to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, further urged the two:
“If you agree, I would urge you to reject the millions of dollars of public financing for your 2012 party convention provided by the federal government through the Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) and to return the money to the federal government.”
According to ABC News, the public financing each national party convention receives has been a tradition since 1976, in order to keep dirty money out of politics (a post-Watergate campaign finance reform). Both party heads responded to Senator Tom Coburn.
ABC News reports that DNC sokesperson Kristie Greco said:
“Political nominating conventions are an essential part of our democratic process, voluntarily funded by the taxpayers. Contrary to Senator Coburn’s assertions, we use the federal grant to fund the functions necessary to renominate the president and vice president.”
Also, RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer stated:
“Conventions serve an important role in the process of nominating candidates for President and Vice President of the United States. If Senator Coburn has ideas on how to overhaul campaign finance laws that will provide political parties with viable alternative funding sources or on the funding for future conventions, he should address them through the legislative process.”
For once, it seems that the two opposing parties agree on something: they will not listen to Tom Coburn’s request to give back taxpayer money they use for their national conventions.