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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: March 12, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Issue advocacy communications have become increasingly popular in recent federal election cycles. These advertisements are often 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 determined that issue ads are constitutionally protected First Amendment speech that 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 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
Voter Eligibility Verification Pilot Program

Voter Eligibility Verification Pilot Program

Date: March 20, 1998
Creator: Coleman, Kevin J
Description: None
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: 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 Bills in the 105th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 3581 (Thomas), H.R. 3526 (Shays-Meehan), and Current Law

Campaign Finance Reform Bills in the 105th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 3581 (Thomas), H.R. 3526 (Shays-Meehan), and Current Law

Date: April 13, 1998
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: On March 30, 1998, the House considered four campaign reform bills under a suspension of rules, focusing on the comprehensive H.R. 3581, offered that day for the Republican leadership by Mr. Thomas; it failed passage on a 74-337 vote. (The bill was similar to H.R. 3485, also by Mr. Thomas, reported by the House Oversight Committee March 18.1) The bill generating the most publicity in the 105th Congress has been S. 25 (McCain-Feingold),2 introduced on March 19 as H.R. 3526 by Messrs. Shays and Meehan. This report summarizes and compares H.R. 3581, H.R. 3526, and current law.
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Campaign Finance Bills in the 105th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 2183 (Hutchison -Allen), H.R. 3526 (Shays-Meehan), and Current Law

Campaign Finance Bills in the 105th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 2183 (Hutchison -Allen), H.R. 3526 (Shays-Meehan), and Current Law

Date: July 22, 1998
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: As pledged by Speaker Gingrich, the House renewed consideration of campaign finance reform in May 1998. The principal bill is H.R. 2183, known as the freshman bipartisan bill, introduced July 17, 1997, by Messrs. Hutchinson and Allen. Selected floor amendments and substitutes will be in order. The legislation that has generated the most publicity in the 105th Congress has been the McCain-Feingold bill (S. 25), offered on March 19, 1998, as H.R. 3526 by Messrs. Shays and Meehan;1 this has also been offered as substitute amendment no. 13 to H.R. 2183 in the current debate. Table 1 highlights key differences between the two bills, and Table 2 summarizes and compares H.R. 2183, H.R. 3526, and current law.
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Campaign Finance Debate in the House: Substitute Amendments to H.R. 2183 (105th Congress)

Campaign Finance Debate in the House: Substitute Amendments to H.R. 2183 (105th Congress)

Date: June 10, 1998
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: This report provides a summary and comparison of the 11 substitute amendments to H.R. 2183, a campaign finance reform bill offered by Representatives Hutchinson and Allen, that, under H. Res. 442, will be in order for consideration by the House. The House began consideration of the bill and these substitute amendments (as well as additional perfecting amendments) on May 21, 1998. This report is intended for use by House Members and staff in preparation for and during House debate and assumes basic familiarity with the underlying issues. It may be updated to reflect further legislative actions.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance

Campaign Finance

Date: April 20, 2005
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, long centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. This report discusses campaign finance practices, enduring issues and today’s paramount issues. In addition it presents the Legislative Action in the 108th and 109th Congress, as well as the Congressional efforts to close perceived loopholes in Federal Election Law.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Financing

Campaign Financing

Date: January 23, 2001
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: This is one report in the series of reports that discuss the campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today’s paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Financing

Campaign Financing

Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: This is one report in the series of reports that discuss the campaign finance practices and related issues. Concerns over financing federal elections have become a seemingly perennial aspect of our political system, centered on the enduring issues of high campaign costs and reliance on interest groups for needed campaign funds. The report talks about the today’s paramount issues such as perceived loopholes in current law and the longstanding issues: overall costs, funding sources, and competition.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department