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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: November 3, 2004
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. Generally, the intent of BCRA, (effective Nov. 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed.
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Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Campaign Finance: Constitutional and Legal Issues of Soft Money

Date: January 10, 2005
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: Prior to enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), P.L. 107-155, the term “soft money” generally referred to unregulated funds, perceived as resulting from loopholes in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431 et seq. The general intent of BCRA, (effective November 6, 2002), which amends FECA, is to restrict the raising and spending of soft money. This Issue Brief discusses constitutional and legal issues surrounding two major types of soft money that BCRA regulates: political party soft money and soft money used for issue advocacy communications. Corporate and labor union soft money, which FECA exempts from regulation and is not addressed by BCRA, is also discussed.
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Campaign Finance Debate in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Measures Under House Consideration

Campaign Finance Debate in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Measures Under House Consideration

Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: On September 14, the House passed H.R. 417 on a vote of 252-177, as amended by three perfecting amendments: Bereuter/Wicker #6; Faleomavaega #1; and Sweeney #21. This report features two tables. Table 1 summarizes and compares the ten perfecting amendments, current law, and the Shays-Meehan proposal. Table 2 summarizes and compares current law, the Shays-Meehan bill, and the three substitute amendments.
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Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer

Presidential Elections in the United States: A Primer

Date: April 17, 2000
Creator: Coleman, Kevin J; Cantor, Joseph E & Neale, Thomas H
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

527 Organizations: How the Differences in Tax and Election Laws Permit Certain Organizations to Engage in Issue Advocacy without Public Disclosure and Proposals for Change

Date: June 26, 2000
Creator: Morris, Marie B.
Description: This report compares the tax and election laws relating to political organizations and political committees in an attempt to highlight the differences between them, and discusses some of the proposals in the 106th Congress to require additional reporting by organizations engaging in political activities. This report does not address the taxation of other tax-exempt organizations making political expenditures taxable under IRC § 527. The report will be updated as new proposals are reported.
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Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment:

Campaign Finance Regulation Under the First Amendment:

Date: September 8, 2000
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige & Jennings, Christopher Alan
Description: This Report first discusses the critical holdings enunciated by the Supreme Court 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 fourteen 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), 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 v. FEC; 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).
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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).
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Date: November 27, 2000
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: Recent events surrounding the Presidential election have led to increased scrutiny of voting procedures in the United States. This report focuses on the constitutional authority and limitations that might be relevant to attempts by Congress to standardize these and other procedures.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Date: March 29, 2001
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: Recent events surrounding the Presidential election have led to increased scrutiny of voting procedures in the United States. This report focuses on the constitutional authority and limitations that might be relevant to attempts by Congress to standardize these and other procedures.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Congressional Authority to Standardize National Election Procedures

Date: February 14, 2003
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: Recent events surrounding the Presidential election have led to increased scrutiny of voting procedures in the United States. This report focuses on the constitutional authority and limitations that might be relevant to attempts by Congress to standardize these and other procedures.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress

Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress

Date: January 11, 2001
Creator: Fischer, Eric A
Description: None
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Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress

Voting Technologies in the United States: Overview and Issues for Congress

Date: March 21, 2001
Creator: Fischer, Eric A
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Electoral College: An Overview and Analysis of Reform Proposals

The Electoral College: An Overview and Analysis of Reform Proposals

Date: November 5, 2004
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

Date: March 29, 2001
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Description: Seven proposals to reform the Electoral College system have been introduced to date in the 107th Congress. H.J.Res. 3 (Representative Green of Texas), and H.J.Res. 5 (Representative Delahunt) would eliminate the electoral college, substituting direct popular election of the President. H.J.Res. 1 (Representative Clyburn), H.J.Res. 18 (Representative Engel), and H.J.Res. 37 (Representative Clement) would incorporate the “district” method of awarding electoral votes, and H.J.Res. 17 (Representative Engel) would provide for proportional award of electoral votes. H.J.Res. 25 (Representative Leach) is a hybrid plan. These measures have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and await further action.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

Date: February 7, 2003
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Description: Seven proposals to reform the Electoral College system have been introduced to date in the 107th Congress. H.J.Res. 3 (Representative Green of Texas), and H.J.Res. 5 (Representative Delahunt) would eliminate the electoral college, substituting direct popular election of the President. H.J.Res. 1 (Representative Clyburn), H.J.Res. 18 (Representative Engel), and H.J.Res. 37 (Representative Clement) would incorporate the “district” method of awarding electoral votes, and H.J.Res. 17 (Representative Engel) would provide for proportional award of electoral votes. H.J.Res. 25 (Representative Leach) is a hybrid plan. These measures have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and await further action.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 107th Congress

Date: September 25, 2003
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Description: Seven proposals to reform the Electoral College system have been introduced to date in the 107th Congress. H.J.Res. 3 (Representative Green of Texas), and H.J.Res. 5 (Representative Delahunt) would eliminate the electoral college, substituting direct popular election of the President. H.J.Res. 1 (Representative Clyburn), H.J.Res. 18 (Representative Engel), and H.J.Res. 37 (Representative Clement) would incorporate the “district” method of awarding electoral votes, and H.J.Res. 17 (Representative Engel) would provide for proportional award of electoral votes. H.J.Res. 25 (Representative Leach) is a hybrid plan. These measures have been referred to the House Judiciary Committee and await further action.
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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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Campaign Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of S. 27 (McCain-Feingold), H.R. 2356 (Shays-Meehan), H.R. 2630 (Ney-Wyn), and Current Law

Campaign Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of S. 27 (McCain-Feingold), H.R. 2356 (Shays-Meehan), H.R. 2630 (Ney-Wyn), and Current Law

Date: January 18, 2002
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E & Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: S. 27 (McCain-Feingold), the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001, was introduced January 22, 2001 in a form similar to prior versions of the last two Congresses. On April 2, after a two-week debate and adoption of 22 amendments, the Senate passed S. 27 by a vote of 59-41. That measure’s companion Shays-Meehan bill, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2001, was initially introduced as H.R. 380 in a form similar to House-passed versions of the prior two Congresses; on June 28, the bill was modified and offered as H.R. 2356. H.R. 2360 (Ney-Wynn), the Campaign Finance Reform and Grassroots Citizen Participation Act of 2001, was introduced and ordered reported favorably by the House Administration Committee on June 28. (Shays-Meehan was ordered reported unfavorably at the same time.) The two primary features of the bills are restrictions on party soft money and issue advocacy.
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Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002: Summary and Comparison with Previous Law

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002: Summary and Comparison with Previous Law

Date: January 9, 2004
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E & Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 was enacted on March 27, 2002 as P.L. 107-155. It passed the House on February 14, 2002, as H.R. 2356 (Shays- Meehan), by a 240-189 vote. Its companion measure, on which it was largely based, had initially been passed by the Senate in 2001 as S. 27 (McCain-Feingold). On March 20, 2002, however, the Senate approved the House-passed H.R. 2356 by a 60- 40 vote, thus avoiding a conference to reconcile differences between S. 27 and H.R. 2356. The two primary features of P.L. 107-155 are restrictions on party soft money and issue advocacy.
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Election Reform and Electronic Voting Systems (DREs): Analysis of Security Issues

Election Reform and Electronic Voting Systems (DREs): Analysis of Security Issues

Date: November 4, 2003
Creator: Fischer, Eric A
Description: This report discusses several questions about voting-system security. To address these questions, this report begins with a description of the historical and policy context of the controversy. That is followed by an analysis of the issues in the broader context of computer security. The next section discusses several proposals that have been made for addressing those issues, and the last section discusses options for action that might be considered by policymakers.
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India's 2004 National Elections

India's 2004 National Elections

Date: July 12, 2004
Creator: Kronstadt, K. Alan
Description: None
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
Executive Branch Power to Postpone Elections

Executive Branch Power to Postpone Elections

Date: July 14, 2004
Creator: Thomas, Kenneth R
Description: Because of the continuing threat of terrorism, concerns have been raised about the potential for terrorist events to occur close to or during the voting process for the November 2004 elections. For instance, the question has been raised as to whether a sufficiently calamitous event could result in the postponement of the election, and what mechanisms are in place to deal with such an event. This report focuses on who has the constitutional authority to postpone elections, to whom such power could be delegated, and what legal limitations exist to such a postponement.
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