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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Date: May 15, 1998
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Issue advocacy communications have become increasingly popular over the federal election cycles. Often these advertisements could be interpreted to favor or disfavor certain candidates, while also serving to inform the public about a policy issue. However, unlike communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, the Supreme Court has ruled that issue ads are constitutionally protected First Amendment speech and cannot be regulated.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Date: March 15, 2002
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Issue advocacy communications have become increasingly popular over the federal election cycles. Often these advertisements could be interpreted to favor or disfavor certain candidates, while also serving to inform the public about a policy issue. However, unlike communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, the Supreme Court has ruled that issue ads are constitutionally protected First Amendment speech and cannot be regulated in any manner. According to most lower court rulings, only speech containing express words of advocacy of election or defeat, also known as “express advocacy” or “magic words” can be regulated as election-related communications and therefore be subject to the requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Unlike express advocacy communications, therefore, issue ads may be paid for with funds unregulated by federal law, i.e., soft money
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Date: July 10, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Issue advocacy communications have become increasingly popular over the federal election cycles. Often these advertisements could be interpreted to favor or disfavor certain candidates, while also serving to inform the public about a policy issue. However, unlike communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, the Supreme Court has ruled that issue ads are constitutionally protected First Amendment speech and cannot be regulated in any manner. According to most lower court rulings, only speech containing express words of advocacy of election or defeat, also known as “express advocacy” or “magic words” can be regulated as election-related communications and therefore be subject to the requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Unlike express advocacy communications, therefore, issue ads may be paid for with funds unregulated by federal law, i.e., soft money
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Campaign Finance Reform: A Legal Analysis of Issue and Express Advocacy

Date: July 10, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Issue advocacy communications have become increasingly popular over the federal election cycles. Often these advertisements could be interpreted to favor or disfavor certain candidates, while also serving to inform the public about a policy issue. However, unlike communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate, the Supreme Court has ruled that issue ads are constitutionally protected First Amendment speech and cannot be regulated in any manner. According to most lower court rulings, only speech containing express words of advocacy of election or defeat, also known as “express advocacy” or “magic words” can be regulated as election-related communications and therefore be subject to the requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). Unlike express advocacy communications, therefore, issue ads may be paid for with funds unregulated by federal law, i.e., soft money
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Reform and Incentives to Voluntarily Limit Candidate Spending From Personal Funds: Constitutional Issues Raised by Public Subsidies and Variable Contribution Limits

Campaign Finance Reform and Incentives to Voluntarily Limit Candidate Spending From Personal Funds: Constitutional Issues Raised by Public Subsidies and Variable Contribution Limits

Date: March 22, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: The Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo ruled that spending limits, including the amount a candidate can spend on his or her own campaign from personal funds (also known as personal fund expenditure limits) are unconstitutional. The Court did, however, uphold a system of spending limits, on the condition that they are voluntarily accepted in exchange for some form of public financing. As a result of these Court rulings, the concept of various incentives toward voluntary compliance with a personal funds expenditure limit has been developed. This report discusses some constitutional issues raised by two such incentives: public subsidies and variable contribution limits.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Campaign Finance Reform: Constitutional Issues Raised by Disclosure Requirements

Date: March 20, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Campaign finance reform legislation often contains provisions that would impose additional reporting and disclosure requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). For example, S. 27 (McCain/Feingold), would require disclosure of disbursements of expenditures over $10,000 for “electioneering communications,” which are defined to include broadcast ads that “refer” to federal office candidates, with identification of donors of $500 or more. S. 22 (Hagel/Landrieu) would increase and expedite current disclosure requirements under FECA. H.R. 380 (Shays/Meehan) would lower the current FECA threshold for contribution reporting from $200 to $50 and impose reporting requirements for soft money disbursements by persons other than political parties. This report will discuss some of the constitutional issues relating to these and other such disclosure requirements.
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Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny

Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny

Date: August 28, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: This report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated bythe SupremeCourt in Buckley, including those: upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court’s extension of Buckley in fifteen subsequent cases, evaluating them in three regulatory contexts: contribution limits (California Medical Association v. FEC; Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley; Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC; FEC v. Beaumont), expenditure limits (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti; FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; FEC v. National Right to Work; Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado I) v. FEC; FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado II); FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee), and disclosure requirements (Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation; Brown v. Socialist Workers ‘74 Campaign Committee; FEC v. Akins; McIntrye v. Ohio Elections Commission).
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Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny

Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment: Buckley v. Valeo and its Supreme Court Progeny

Date: July 9, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: This report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated bythe SupremeCourt in Buckley, including those: upholding reasonable contribution limits, striking down expenditure limits, upholding disclosure reporting requirements, and upholding the system of voluntary presidential election expenditure limitations linked with public financing. It then examines the Court’s extension of Buckley in fifteen subsequent cases, evaluating them in three regulatory contexts: contribution limits (California Medical Association v. FEC; Citizens Against Rent Control v. Berkeley; Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC; FEC v. Beaumont), expenditure limits (First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti; FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life; Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce; FEC v. National Right to Work; Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado I) v. FEC; FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee (Colorado II); FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee), and disclosure requirements (Buckley v. American Constitutional Law Foundation; Brown v. Socialist Workers ‘74 Campaign Committee; FEC v. Akins; McIntrye v. Ohio Elections Commission).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

The Constitutionality of Requiring Photo Identification for Voting: An Analysis of Crawford v. Marion County Election Board

Date: May 19, 2008
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: In a splintered decision issued in April 2008, the Supreme Court upheld an Indiana statute requiring identification for voting, determining that lower courts had correctly decided that the evidence in the record was insufficient to support a facial attack on the constitutionality of the law. Written by Justice Stevens, the lead opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board finds that the law imposes only "a limited burden on voters' rights," which is justified by state interests.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives: 1933 to 2009

Contested Election Cases in the House of Representatives: 1933 to 2009

Date: November 2, 2010
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: From 1933 to 2009 (the 73rd Congress through the 111th Congress), the U.S. House of Representatives considered 107 contested election cases. The summaries of contested election cases contained in this report focus primarily on the nature of the contest and the disposition of the case. For more detailed information regarding each contest, it is important to consult relevant House records. This report examines only cases considered by the House of Representatives involving the question of whether a Member-elect was duly elected.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department