May 23, 2017 •

Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Challenge of FEC Soft Money Regulations

On May 22, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s finding of summary judgement upholding the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act’s regulation of the use of so-called soft money. In Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC, […]

On May 22, the United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s finding of summary judgement upholding the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act’s regulation of the use of so-called soft money.

In Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected a challenge to federal campaign finance provisions requiring state and local political parties to abide by federal regulations concerning certain political activities such as get-out-the-vote and voter registration drives and the resulting reporting requirements.

In response to an appeal from the plaintiffs, the Supreme Court affirmed the District Court’s decision.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 27, 2017 •

Supreme Court Affirms, Without Written Opinion, Lower Court’s Ruling Regarding Campaign Finance Disclosure

Today, the United States Supreme Court affirmed electioneering communication disclosure requirements under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). In Independence Institute v. FEC, the Supreme Court affirmed, without a written opinion, a lower court’s summary judgement against Independence Institute, a […]

US Supreme CourtToday, the United States Supreme Court affirmed electioneering communication disclosure requirements under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA).

In Independence Institute v. FEC, the Supreme Court affirmed, without a written opinion, a lower court’s summary judgement against Independence Institute, a Colorado based 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Independence Institute argued the BCRA’s disclosure requirements for electioneering communications were overbroad and violated the First Amendment.

Electioneering communication is defined as any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication referring to a clearly identified federal candidate, made within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general, special, or runoff election, and targeted to the relevant electorate.

On November 3, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had rejected the Independence Institute’s challenge to the BCRA’s electioneering communication provisions and granted the Federal Election Commission’s motion for summary judgment.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 23, 2017 •

FEC Commissioner Ravel Resigns Effective March 1

On March 1, Commissioner Ann M. Ravel will resign from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In her February 19 resignation letter to the president, Commissioner Ravel urged he prioritize campaign finance reform, strengthen disclosure law, and “reduce reliance on the […]

ravelOn March 1, Commissioner Ann M. Ravel will resign from the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In her February 19 resignation letter to the president, Commissioner Ravel urged he prioritize campaign finance reform, strengthen disclosure law, and “reduce reliance on the wealthy.”

With Ravel’s absence, there will be three registered members of the Republican Party and two registered members of the Democratic Party on the Commission. The FEC requires at least four commissioners to agree for any official action. A replacement for Ravel will be selected by President Trump and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

While not more than three members of the commission may be registered with the same political party, the president is not obligated to nominate a member of the Democratic Party, of which Ravel is a registered member.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 6, 2017 •

FEC Adjusts Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Threshold Amount

On Friday, February 3, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its price index adjustments for expenditure limitations and the federal lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold. The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased for 2017 from $17,600 to $17,900. This threshold amount […]

Federal Election Commission logoOn Friday, February 3, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published its price index adjustments for expenditure limitations and the federal lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold.

The lobbyist bundling disclosure threshold has increased for 2017 from $17,600 to $17,900. This threshold amount is adjusted annually. Federal law requires authorized committees of federal candidates, leadership political action committees (PACs), and political party committees to disclose contributions bundled by lobbyists and lobbyists’ PACs.

Additionally, the FEC published its adjusted Coordinated Party Expenditure Limits for political parties for 2017.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

February 2, 2017 •

Let the Fundraising Begin: FEC Publishes Contribution Limits for 2017-2018 Election Cycle

Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published the 2017-2018 election cycle contribution limits, which have been indexed for inflation. As required by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the FEC must adjust certain contribution limits every two years. The […]

FEC Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) published the 2017-2018 election cycle contribution limits, which have been indexed for inflation. As required by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the FEC must adjust certain contribution limits every two years.

The individual and nonmulticandidate PAC contribution limit to federal candidates will remain at $2,700 for both primary and general elections, allowing for a total of $5,400 for a federal candidate. The limits on contributions by individuals to national party committees has increased from $33,400 to $33,900 per calendar year.

Individuals may now contribute $101,700 per calendar year to committees of a national political party for presidential nominating conventions, to committees of a national political party for preparation for and the conduct of election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings, and to committees of a national political party for the construction, purchase, renovation, operation, and furnishing of one or more buildings for party headquarters.

The new limits are effective retroactively to January 1, 2017.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

September 16, 2016 •

FEC Unable to Agree on Policy Regarding Permissible Corporate Political Activity by U.S. Domestic Subsidiaries of Foreign Nationals

On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity. Federal law prohibits foreign nationals […]

FEC On September 15, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on a policy to clarify when and if a U.S. domestic subsidiary corporation of a foreign national is illegally involved in political activity.

Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from directly or indirectly making contributions, donations, expenditures, independent expenditures, and disbursements in connection with federal, state, or local elections. FEC regulations also prohibit foreign nationals from directing, controlling, or participating in the decision-making process of any person, such as a corporation, with regards to decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections in the U.S.

Additionally, the FEC was unable to reach an agreement on the creation of a safe harbor for political committees to accept corporate contributions deemed not to have come from foreign national sources.

Continue Reading - 1 min read Close

August 2, 2016 •

Preliminary Injunction Order to be Issued Concerning Unauthorized Committee Naming

Today, a federal court ruled an unconnected committee should be allowed to use candidates’ names in the titles of their websites and social media pages while the case is being resolved. In Pursuing America’s Greatness v. FEC, the United States […]

District_of_Columbia_Court_of_Appeals_Seal.svgToday, a federal court ruled an unconnected committee should be allowed to use candidates’ names in the titles of their websites and social media pages while the case is being resolved.

In Pursuing America’s Greatness v. FEC, the United States Court of Appeals for The District of Columbia Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction and remanded the case for the district court to enter a preliminary injunction enjoining the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from enforcing the application of 11 C.F.R. § 102.14(a) against the plaintiff pending the outcome of the case.

Federal law requires a candidate’s committee to include the name of the candidate in the committee’s title and requires an unauthorized political committee to not use a candidate’s name in its title. The purpose of the law is to avoid confusion. Through regulation, the FEC has extended the naming prohibition to other committee activities, solicitations, and communications, including special project names for websites or social media pages.

The court found there is a substantial likelihood the regulation violates the First Amendment and the plaintiff will prevail in the lawsuit because the FEC has not shown the regulation is the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s interest.

Continue Reading - 2 min read Close