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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
527 Organizations: Reporting Requirements Imposed on Political Organizations after the Enactment of P.L. 106-230

527 Organizations: Reporting Requirements Imposed on Political Organizations after the Enactment of P.L. 106-230

Date: March 19, 2001
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Description: On July 1, 2000, President Clinton signed H.R. 4762, P.L. 106-230. The law amended the Internal Revenue Code [IRC] to require political organizations described in IRC § 527 to disclose their political activities, if they were not already required to do so by the Federal Election Campaign Act [FECA]. This report summarizes the three major changes made by the law and some of the major responses to the legislation. First, all 527 organizations which expect to have over $25,000 in gross receipts during a taxable year and which are not required to report to the Federal Election Commission [FEC] are required to register with the IRS within 24 hours of their formation, whether they are involved in state, local, or federal elections. Second, 527 issue advocacy organizations, which previously reported neither to the IRS nor the FEC, are required to file regular disclosure statements with the IRS. Third, all 527 organizations with gross receipts in excess of $25,000 per year are required to file annual reports with the IRS. The registration statements, disclosure forms, and annual reports will be made public. H.R. 527 and S. 527 in the 107th Congress would exempt most state and local 527 organizations from the ...
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Campaign Finance in the 2000 Federal Elections: Overview and Estimates of the Flow of Money

Campaign Finance in the 2000 Federal Elections: Overview and Estimates of the Flow of Money

Date: March 16, 2001
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: Federal election law regulates money in federal elections through a ban on union and corporate treasury money, limits on contributions, and uniform, periodic disclosure of receipts and expenditures. Money raised and spent under these laws to directly influence federal elections is commonly known as hard money. Money that is largely outside the restrictions and prohibitions of the federal regulatory framework–but raised and spent in a manner suggesting possible intent to affect federal elections–is commonly known as soft money.
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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.
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Campaign Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 380 (Shays-Meehan) with S. 27 (McCain-Feingold)

Campaign Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of H.R. 380 (Shays-Meehan) with S. 27 (McCain-Feingold)

Date: February 16, 2001
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: As in the last two Congresses, campaign finance reform will be a major issue in the 107th Congress, with attention again centered on the Senate McCain-Feingold and House Shays-Meehan bills. S. 27 (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001), introduced on January 22, 2001, will be considered by the Senate in March 2001; H.R. 380 (Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2001) was introduced January 31. Both bills ban the raising of soft money by national parties and the spending of it by state and local parties on federal election-related activities (as defined). But on the other key provision–issue advocacy–they differ notably. H.R. 380 offers a broad new definition of express advocacy, subjecting activity meeting that standard to all aspects of federal election law regulation. S. 27 classifies some messages as electioneering communications, requiring their disclosure and banning their funding by unions or for-profit corporations. This report summarizes and compares these two measures, according to various categories.
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Campaign Financing

Campaign Financing

Date: January 30, 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.
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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.
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Election Projections: First Amendment Issues

Election Projections: First Amendment Issues

Date: January 23, 2001
Creator: Cohen, Henry
Description: Media projections may be based both on exit polls and on information acquired as to actual ballot counts. The First Amendment would generally preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from interviewing voters after they exit the polls. It apparently would also preclude Congress from prohibiting the media from reporting the results of those polls. Congress, could, however, ban voter solicitation within a certain distance from a polling place, and might be able to include exit polling within such a ban.
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Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Contingent Election

Election of the President and Vice President by Congress: Contingent Election

Date: January 17, 2001
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Description: The 12th Amendment to the Constitution requires that candidates for President and Vice President receive a majority of electoral votes (currently 270 or more of a total of 538) to be elected. If no candidate receives a majority, the President is elected by the House of Representatives, and the Vice President is elected by the Senate. This process is referred to as contingent election and is the topic of discussion in this report.
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The Electoral College: How it Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections

The Electoral College: How it Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections

Date: January 17, 2001
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Description: The Constitution assigns each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of the state’s Senate and House of Representatives delegations; at present, the number of electors per state ranges from three to 55, for a total of 538. This report discuses constitutional origins, the electoral college today and explains the allocation of electors and electoral votes.
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The Electoral College: An Overview and Analysis of Reform Proposals

The Electoral College: An Overview and Analysis of Reform Proposals

Date: January 16, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige & Neale, Thomas H
Description: Following the closely contested presidential election of 2000, it is anticipated that Congress may revisit the issue of Electoral College reform. Although some reforms could be effected through federal or state statutes, most would require overcoming the considerable hurdles encountered by proposed constitutional amendments: two-thirds approval by both houses of Congress, followed by ratification by three-fourths (38) of the states, usually within a period of seven years.
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