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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of

Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of

Date: May 19, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, striking down many key provisions of the law. This report provides a brief overview of the court’s decision and will be updated. The three-judge panel, which was split 2 to 1 on many issues, ordered that its ruling take effect immediately. Since the court has issued its opinion, several appeals have been filed. Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court’s decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 19 the U.S. district court issued a stay to its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision.
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Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of

Campaign Finance: Brief Overview of

Date: May 8, 2003
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Description: On May 2, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued its decision in McConnell v. FEC, striking down many key provisions of the law. This report provides a brief overview of the court’s decision and will be updated. The three-judge panel, which was split 2 to 1 on many issues, ordered that its ruling take effect immediately. Since the court has issued its opinion, several appeals have been filed. Under the BCRA expedited review provision, the court’s decision will be reviewed directly by the U.S. Supreme Court. On May 19 the U.S. district court issued a stay to its ruling, which leaves BCRA, as enacted, in effect until the Supreme Court issues a decision
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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.
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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 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 Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of S. 22 (Hagel-Landrieu) with S. 27 (McCain-Feingold)

Campaign Finance Bills in the 107th Congress: Comparison of S. 22 (Hagel-Landrieu) with S. 27 (McCain-Feingold)

Date: March 23, 2001
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: On March 19, 2001, the Senate began consideration of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. The bill–S. 27 (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001)–was introduced on January 22, 2001 by Senators McCain, Feingold, Cochran et al. It features a ban on the raising of soft money by national parties, a ban on the spending of soft money by state and local parties on federal election-related activities (as defined), and a disclosure requirement for electioneering messages not regulated by federal election law, along with a ban on their funding from union or for-profit corporation treasuries. Another bill receiving considerable Senate attention is S. 22 (Open and Accountable Campaign Financing Act of 2001), introduced on January 22, 2001 by Senators Hagel, Landrieu et al. It features limits on soft money donations to national parties, increases in hard money contribution limits, and a requirement that broadcasters make information available on groups engaging in issue advocacy. This report provides a summary and comparison of these two measures, according to various categories.
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Campaign Finance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Shays-Meehan, as passed, with McCain-Feingold, as considered

Campaign Finance Bills in the 106th Congress: Comparison of Shays-Meehan, as passed, with McCain-Feingold, as considered

Date: January 12, 2000
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: On September 14, 1999, the House passed the Shays-Meehan bill--H.R. 417, the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1999, as amended, by a vote of 252-177. Senate sponsors of the companion measure, S. 26 (McCain-Feingold), revised their proposal and, on September 16, introduced S. 1593, containing just four sections of H.R. 417 and S. 26. The Senate debated S. 1593 from October 13-20, culminating in unsuccessful cloture votes October 19 on two amendments: Daschle amendment 2298, substituting text nearly identical to the House-passed H.R. 417; and Reid amendment 2229 (a perfecting amendment to no. 2298), substituting text of S. 1593 as offered, plus McCain amendment 2294 (adopted October 14), which added certain disclosure requirements. This report compares provisions of the House-passed bill with the one considered by the Senate in October 1999. No further updates are planned.
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Campaign Finance Legislation in the 108th Congress

Campaign Finance Legislation in the 108th Congress

Date: October 27, 2004
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E
Description: As of October 11, 2004, 29 bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress to change the nation’s campaign finance laws (primarily under Titles 2 and 26 of the U.S. Code). These bills — 20 in the House and nine in the Senate — seek to make improvements in the current system, including to tighten perceived loopholes. In the wake of enactment of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (P.L. 107- 155), there has been decidedly less legislative activity in this area than in recent Congresses, which typically saw well over 100 campaign finance-related bills introduced.
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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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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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