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527 Political Organizations: Legislation in the 109th Congress

Description: The 109th Congress is examining the role of groups organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) that are involved in federal elections but are not operating under the requirements and restrictions of federal election law. Although such groups only recently emerged into public awareness, in 2004, they were widely seen as major players in the presidential election, with more than $400 million spent seeking to influence the outcome. Strictly speaking, the term “527” refers to a section of the Internal Revenue Code, which was added in 1975 to provide tax-exempt status to federal, state, and local political organizations, as defined in that statute. The controversy over these 527 groups arises from two factors: the different definitions used in federal election law and tax law as to what constitutes election-related activity and, further, the lack of certainty as to what election law itself regulates or may permissibly regulate. This report discusses these groups in detail, as well as related legislation.
Date: March 31, 2006
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E. & Lunder, Erika
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

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

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
Date: July 10, 2001
Creator: Whitaker, L. Paige
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 108th Congress

Description: American voters elect the President and Vice President of the United States under a complex arrangement of constitutional provisions, federal and state laws, and political party practices known as the electoral college system. Despite occasional close elections, this system has delivered uncontested results in 46 of 50 elections since adoption of the 12th Amendment, effective in 1804. Throughout this period, nevertheless, it has been the subject of persistent criticism and many reform proposals. Related measures fall into two basic categories: those that would eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election of the President and Vice President, and those that would retain the existing system in some form and correct perceived defects.
Date: June 30, 2005
Creator: Neale, Thomas H.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Fatah and Hamas: the New Palestinian Factional Reality

Description: For the first time in its history, the Palestinian parliament is set to be led by Hamas, which the United States and European Union have designated a foreign terrorist organization. Although some lauded the generally free and fair election in January 2006, others criticized the outcome and accused Hamas of “hijacking” democracy. This report provides an overview of the new political realities in the West Bank and Gaza after the election, the challenges Fatah and Hamas face, and possible implications for U.S. policy.
Date: March 3, 2006
Creator: Pina, Aaron D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Delegate Totals and Dates for Presidential Primaries and Caucuses, 1988

Description: This report provides the 1988 Democratic and Republican delegate totals and the calendar of Presidential primaries and caucuses, by State. The information is presented in four separate calendars: alphabetically by State; chronologically by primary or caucus date; and separately for each party, arranged i n State order.
Date: February 29, 1988
Creator: Coleman, Kevin J
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government

Description: In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debate over a new cabinet proposed in March 2006. However, insurgent violence continues to threaten Afghan stability. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman.
Date: May 1, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Elections, Constitution, and Government

Description: In 2004 and 2005, Afghanistan adopted a permanent constitution and elected a president and a parliament. The parliament is emerging as a significant force in Afghan politics, as shown in debates over a new cabinet and the 2006 budget. See CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-War Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman.
Date: May 25, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Eighteen Year Old Vote: The Twenty-sixth Amendment and Subsequent Voting Rates of Newly Enfranchised Age Groups

Description: This report traces the progress of proposals to expand the right to vote to citizens between the ages of 18 and 21, culminating in the ratification of the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1971. It also reviews the voting rates of the newly enfranchised age group and compares them to voting rates of other age groups.
Date: May 20, 1983
Creator: Neale, Thomas H
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iraq: Elections, Government, and Constitution

Description: This report discusses Iraqi government in the wake of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Elections in 2005 for a transitional National Assembly and government (January 30, 2005), a permanent constitution (October 15), and a permanent (four year) Council of Representatives and government (December 15) were concluded despite insurgent violence and attracted progressively increasing Sunni participation. However, escalating sectarian violence and factional infighting have delayed formation of a new government.
Date: March 30, 2006
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Finance

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.
Date: February 8, 2006
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Campaign Financing

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.
Date: July 30, 1987
Creator: Cantor, Joseph E. & Durbin, Thomas M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Direct Recording Electronic Voting Machine (DRE) Controversy: FAQs and Misperceptions

Description: As Congress considers proposals relating to DREs, salient issues might include the lack of information about DRE security, especially in relation to other systems and other components of election integrity; potential conflicts with HAVA requirements that might be associated with the proposals; how those proposals might impact voter confidence; and what impacts they might have on future innovation.
Date: December 14, 2005
Creator: Fischer, Eric A. & Coleman, Kevin J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electronic Voting Systems (DREs): Legislation in the 108th Congress

Description: Several bills have been introduced in the 108th Congress to address issues that have been raised about the security of direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines. Touchscreen and other DREs using computer-style displays are arguably the most versatile and voter-friendly of any current voting system. The popularity of DREs, particularly the touchscreen variety, has grown in recent years. In addition, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA, P.L. 107 — 252), while not requiring or prohibiting the use of any specific kind of voting system, does promote the use of DREs through some of its provisions.
Date: August 11, 2004
Creator: Fischer, Eric A. & Coleman, Kevin J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department