Apr 15, 2004
The GOP chairman of the Federal Election Commission gently admonished the Republican National Committee for declining to testify yesterday at a hearing about proposed rules to restrict fundraising and spending by independent political organizations.
Chairman Bradley A. Smith said “it would have been useful” if the RNC had sent a representative to answer citizen complaints that the GOP is “seeking merely to silence criticism of President Bush” by attempting to limit the “527” organizations. “It would have been valuable for the RNC in this forum to put to rest the accusation that theirs is a strategy of short-term political advantage,” Smith said.
One theme running through many of the record 150,000 comments on the proposed rules was that the Republican Party’s interest in limiting 527s was politically motivated. Smith said “thousands of comments opposed what they called ‘the attempt by the Republican National Committee to press the FEC into issuing new rules that would punish groups that dare to criticize President Bush.’ ”