Two members of the Florida delegation–Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis–have paired up once again on a bill to crack down on zombie campaigns.
Castor first brought out the “Honest Elections and Campaign, No Gain Act” (HEC NO) in March 2021. The bill will force “former lawmakers and others no longer seeking office to close their campaign accounts within two years, instead of living on as zombie campaigns.” Bilirakis and U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Mary., are co-sponsoring the proposal.
Bringing the bill back last week, Castor offered the reasons why she continued to champion it.
“Members of Congress are elected to serve the public interest, not their personal interests, and our neighbors are calling on Congress to increase transparency and clean up corruption in Washington. I’ve reintroduced legislation to end Zombie Campaigns to ensure that we put people over politics, big corporations and special interests with outsized influence,” said Castor. “Ex-lawmakers and candidates should not be able to personally benefit from leftover campaign funds, and if we pass my bipartisan bill, we can put Zombie Campaigns in the grave once and for all.”
“Elected officials have a responsibility to uphold the public trust. We’ve seen egregious examples of former members keeping their campaign accounts open in perpetuity and personally benefitting from the proceeds. While they may not have explicitly broken the law, they have certainly violated the spirit of the law, which is wrong,” said Bilirakis. “We have to close the loophole and restore the public trust.”
The bill has the support of End Citizens United, Let America Vote Action Fund, Common Cause, Issue One, the Campaign Legal Center and Public Citizen.
Castor’s bill was sent to the U.S. House Judiciary and the House Administration Committees last week. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.
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