A Guide to Campaign Finance

A Guide to Campaign Finance


Why does money matter? What is it paying for? Where is it coming from?

How is it regulated? Does money automatically = victory? Do contributions (special interest donors) = influence? Where does my money go?

It depends! Candidate Candidate specific activities Contributions to other candidates, parties or causes DNC/RNC Federal candidates

Allocated nationally State Party Committees Federal, state & local candidates Allocated statewide PACs Support candidates, parties that agree on specific issues 527s

Separate campaign WHERE DOES THE MONEY COME FROM? DIRECT Self funding (HARD MONEY) Unlimited (Buckley v. Valeo) but high risk Public funding (HARD MONEY)

Limited/capped Individual contributions (donors) (HARD MONEY) Limited by dollar amount by race PAC contributions (HARD MONEY) IG, unions, businesses Party organization (DNC/RNC) (HARD MONEY) Limited

Overview History of Campaign Finance Regulation Corrupt Practices Acts of 1911 and 1925 Set disclosure requirements for House and Senate Elections

Spending limits ($25k for Senate; $5k for House) Ridiculously weak and regularly violated 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) 1976: Buckley v. Valeo (1976)

Federal Election Commission Purpose In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) the statute that governs the financing of federal elections.

The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.

Buckley v. Valeo Buckley v. Valeo, (1976), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a federal law which set limits on campaign contributions, but ruled that spending money to

influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech, and struck down portions of the law. The court also stated candidates can give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.

INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES a political campaign communication that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate that is not made in cooperation, consultation or concert with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, candidates authorized committee or a

political party. McCain Feingold 2002 The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002, also known as "McCainFeingold," after its sponsors, is the most recent major federal law on campaign finance, which revised some of the legal limits of expenditure

set in 1974, and prohibited unregulated contributions (called "soft money") to national political parties. Soft money also refers to funds spent by independent organizations that do not specifically advocate the election or defeat of candidates, and are not contributed directly to candidate campaigns.

Limits PACS Prohibits contributions made from Corporate/Union treasury funds 60 days before an election Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold 2002) Meant to close loopholes that

allowed soft money to flow into campaign committees and to control advertising said to be aimed at issues but actually performing as campaign promotion Challenged in McConnell vs FEC BCRA was confirmed by the S.C.

BCRA Eliminated all soft money contributions to national party committees Increased individual limit from $1,000 to $2,000 with index for inflation ($2,300 in 2008) Banned the use of certain political communications

by corporate, union or incorporated non-profit committees within 30 days of primary or convention, or 60 days of general (political communications) Millionaires amendment Stand by your ad (Im Bruce Lunsford and I endorsed this message)

CITIZENS UNITED Citizens United is an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens control.

CITIZENS UNITED V. FEC Citizens United vs. FEC Overrules MCConnell in part: Overrules the ban on independent expenditures paid for by corporations or unions out of their

treasuries 60 days before an election Overturns ban on independent expenditures from corporate and union treasuries "If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in

political speech," - Justice Kennedy SUPER PACS May raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political


What you need to know about campaign finance

FEC Federal Election Commission BCRA Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act Buckley vs. Valeo Citizens United vs. FEC PACS Political Action Committees Groups formed to push soft money and influence campaign

527s and 501s Groups created under specific tax codes that do not fall under FECA but engage in political activities and attempt to influence elections A method to avoid regulation Target by BCRA Hard money = Federal money Political donations raised from federally permissible sources within the limits

established by BCRA Donated directly to candidates to support campaign Soft money = Nonfederal money Political donations made in such a way as to avoid federal regulations. Unregulated money donated to political parties, not candidates, that go towards party building activities ,such as get out the vote campaigns, and issue ads or non-direct candidate ads

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