Two members of the Florida delegation–Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Republican U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis–have paired up on a bill to crack down on zombie campaigns.
Castor brought out the “Honest Elections and Campaign, No Gain Act” (HEC NO) on Thursday. 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.
On Friday, Castor weighed in why she had introduced the bill.
“Members of Congress are elected to serve the public interest, not their personal interests, and House Democrats passed the For the People Act to clean up corruption in Washington and restore integrity to our government. I’ve reintroduced legislation to end zombie campaigns to move us forward – under President Biden, a Democratic House and Senate,” 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.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.