President Barack Obama signs the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

Mirable Dictu! President Barack Obama has joined hands with Republican Eric Cantor to get money out of politics!

Even cooler, they’ve agreed to give the money to support research for illnesses that hurt children.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Um… remember that little checkbox on your tax form that lets you give $3 to support presidential candidates? The one that enabled public funding of presidential campaigns?

Obama just dismantled that with a stroke of his pen.

Obama signs ban on public funding of presidential campaigns into law

A ban on public funding of presidential conventions was quietly signed into law by Barack Obama on Thursday in a move that could further increase the dependency of US political parties on wealthy donors.

A day after the supreme court removed aggregate limits on how much wealthy individuals can spend supporting candidates, the White House agreed to enact legislation dismantling what was left of an alternative public financing model set up after the Watergate scandal.

US taxpayers could previously elect to earmark $3 (pdf) each year to help support presidential candidates, primaries and conventions in a bid to reduce their reliance on donors, but the amount spent has dwindled in recent years as parties increasingly ignore the subsidies on offer because they require agreeing to some limits on overall spending.

Now the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has proposed scrapping the last actively used part of the subsidy system, which provided an $18m grant to support each party convention in 2012, and use the money to fund national research into childhood diseases instead.

Despite opposition from some Democrats, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who regard it a political stunt, the bill called the The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act was signed into law in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday afternoon.

 


Photo by Pete Souzza, White House