Mon., August 22, 2011 4:50am (EDT)

Bill Limits Campaign War Chests
By Joshua Stewart
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
North Georgia U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall introduced a bill earlier this month that would force congressional candidates to spend any money they raise during the election cycle in which they raise it. Woodall said representatives should not be able to hang onto their seats just because they are incumbents. (Photo Courtesy of Office of Congressman Rob Woodall.)
North Georgia U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall introduced a bill earlier this month that would force congressional candidates to spend any money they raise during the election cycle in which they raise it. Woodall said representatives should not be able to hang onto their seats just because they are incumbents. (Photo Courtesy of Office of Congressman Rob Woodall.)
North Georgia U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Lawrenceville) wants to get rid of the campaign war chests many incumbents amass while in office.

Earlier this month, he introduced a bill that would force congressional candidates to spend any money they raise during the election cycle in which they raise it. They would not be able to stockpile money for future campaigns.

Woodall said representatives should not be able to hang onto their seats just because they are incumbents. He said he wants to take money – and fundraising efforts – out of elections.

“Rather than encouraging folks to perhaps do things that they’re not proud of and then spend a lot of money in a campaign to tell you why you should be proud of them, if we take that money out of the process, it gives people more time to do things that they are proud of and it doesn’t nearly as much money to share that message,” Woodall said.

Woodall acknowledged the bill is a tough sell in Washington but said it will be popular among constituents.

“It’s not supposed to be a popular Washington D.C. bill, it’s supposed to be a popular right-back-home-in-your-neighborhood bill,” Woodall said. “And the one thing I have observed is, whether you’re one of these freshmen like I am or whether you’ve been in Congress 20 years, you still pay attention when your constituents talk.”

Woodall said he will look for support from his fellow freshmen in Congress, who still remember winning their seat for the first time.

The bill does include one exemption on the spending limits. Candidates could go back to stockpiled money and spend it if an opponent puts more than $100,000 of personal money into the campaign.

The bill would require candidates to immediately disclose to the public and to their opponents when they spend that much of their own money and again for every $50,000 after that.