Bill Would Fund Elections With Spectrum Proceeds

Barton wants HR 6116 to get full committee vetting

A bill that would use proceeds from spectrum
auctions to help finance the political campaigns of House members has been
introduced, and one powerful Republican is trying to make sure it gets a full

House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking
member Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has called on committee Chairman Henry Waxman to
hold a hearing on the bill, HR 6116, before it gets any consideration on the
House floor. The bill was referred to the committee.

The Fair Elections Now Act
would provide government matches for contributions by small-dollar contributors
via a Fair Elections Fund that would be fueled by, among other things, money
collected from spectrum auctions.

The FCC already has its eye on some of that money
to help compensate broadcasters for reclaiming their spectrum for wireless and
helping fund an interoperable emergency communications network.

In a letter to Waxman Wednesday, Barton said that
he wanted to make sure the committee exercised its jurisdiction over the bill,
which was introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), who is not a member of the

"Over the last two decades, spectrum auctions
have raised billions of dollars for the American people," Barton wrote to
Waxman. "They have been a source of substantial deficit reduction and have
helped fund important telecommunications initiatives for the good of all
Americans. HR 6116 would now use those auction funds to bail out failing
congressional candidates."