Sending Office: Honorable Kurt Schrader
Supporting Organizations: American Oversight, American Family Voices, Campaign for Accountability, Campaign Legal Center, Center for Media and Democracy, Center for Responsive Politics, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Common
Cause, Democracy 21, Every Voice, Government Accountability Project, OpenTheGovernment.org, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign.
It has now been over a year since the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. I’ve been surprised recently by media reports about the lack of disclosure requirements for the Presidential Inauguration Committees. Political candidates and elected officials see a fair
amount of warranted scrutiny over fundraising and spending. But it is incomprehensible that a Presidential Inaugural Committee can raise and distribute funds in the name of the President of the United States with little to no scrutiny. Regardless of political
affiliation, I would hope that every Member of Congress wants to ensure that our official ceremonies reflect America’s ideals and promote transparency through this process.
In the past, inauguration committees have not raised much concern. Most of the funds raised by previous committees went towards inaugural activities or dispersed to various official activities. Valid concerns, however, have been raised around the most recent
inauguration’s surplus funds. The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee raised a staggering $107 million, over twice the amount raised by the 2009 committee. Yet, the inauguration ceremonies in 2017 cost considerably less than its predecessors. So what happened
with those leftover funds and what is the committee planning to do with it?
For the sake of greater transparency in future inaugurations, I intend to introduce the Presidential Inaugural Committee Oversight Act of 2017. My legislation establishes three basic requirements for all future Presidential Inauguration Committees:
- The committee must provide the FEC with a full list of expenditures for all committee business with regular updates until the committee is disbanded.
- A restriction that funds raised be spent only on official activities and not on lavish salaries or bonuses.
- A mandate that any surplus funds be given to a charity organization.
The American people deserve to know how these funds are used. This common sense legislation will help bring clarity to this process and fix a glaring transparency omission. I hope that you will join me in this effort to strengthen our future presidential
Member of Congress
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