February 25, 2013 •

U.S. Supreme Court Denies Review of Appeal Dealing with Issue of Federal Political Contributions from Corporations

United States v. Danielczyk

Supreme-Court-Equal-JusticeToday the United States Supreme Court decided not to grant a review of the case of United States v. Danielczyk.

Danielczyk is a criminal case in which one of the defense arguments was the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 prohibiting direct corporate contributions to federal candidates was unconstitutional.

The U.S. District Court Judge presiding over the case had agreed with the defense and, based on Citizens United v. FEC, found corporations have an equal right to make political contributions under federal law as do human beings. The judge’s decision was reversed on appeal. The reversal on this issue of law now stands.

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August 23, 2011 •

Ask the Experts – Disclosing Contributions on the LD-203

Here is your chance to “Ask the Experts” at State and Federal Communications, Inc.

Rebecca South
Federal Compliance Associate Rebecca South

Q: What contributions am I required to disclose on the Semi-annual LD-203 contribution report?

A: Though much focus is placed on the PAC and political contributions that must be disclosed on the LD-203, there are four (4) additional categories of reportable expenditures.  Below is an overview of all the expenditures required to be tracked and reported by employer registrants and individual lobbyists:

FECA (Federal Election Campaign Act)

  • Contributions (including in-kind) of $200 or more (in the aggregate) to any Federal candidate or officeholder, leadership PAC, or political party committee (such as the RNC or DNC).   For an employer report, this involves listing contributions from the company’s associated PAC.  FECA contributions tend to be the most common type reported but do not represent full disclosure when other reportable expenditures exist.

HONORARY

  • An expenditure of any amount made to an entity established, financed, maintained, or controlled by a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official, or an entity designated by such official.  Of note, this can include donations made to charitable organizations and other non-profit entities.
  • An expenditure of any amount made to pay the cost of an event to honor or recognize a covered legislative branch official or covered executive branch official.  The purchase of a table or ticket to another entity’s event, in and of itself, is not sufficient to be considered “paying the cost” of the event.
  • An expenditure of any amount made to an entity named for a covered legislative branch official or to a person or entity in recognition of such official.

MEETING

  • An expenditure of any amount made for a meeting, retreat, conference, or other similar event held by, or in the name of, one or more covered legislative branch officials or covered executive branch officials.

PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY and/or INAUGURAL COMMITTEE

  • Contributions of $200 or more to any presidential library foundation and/or presidential inaugural committee made by an individual or employer (including from employer’s PAC) during the reporting period.

You can directly submit questions for this feature, and we will select those most appropriate and answer them here. Send your questions to: marketing@stateandfed.com.

(We are always available to answer questions from clients that are specific to your needs, and we encourage you to continue to call or e-mail us with questions about your particular company or organization. As always, we will confidentially and directly provide answers or information you need.) Our replies to your questions are not legal advice. Instead, these replies represent our analysis of laws, rules, and regulations.

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May 27, 2011 •

Corporate Contribution Ban Found Unconstitutional

US District Court

courthouse graphic

A federal judge has ruled a section of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 [FECA] prohibiting direct corporate contributions to federal candidates is unconstitutional. In United States v. Danielczyk, a criminal case being heard in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Judge James C. Cacheris found corporations have an equal right to make political contributions under federal law as do human beings.

In the decision dismissing one of the counts against the defendants, the judge writes, “But for better or worse, Citizens United held that there is no distinction between an individual and a corporation with respect to political speech. Thus, if an individual can make direct contributions within FECA’s limits, a corporation cannot be banned from doing the same thing. So because individuals can directly contribute to federal election campaigns within FECA’s limits, and because [2 U.S.C.]§ 441b(a) does not allow corporations to do the same, § 441b(a) is unconstitutional and Count Four must be dismissed.”

Currently, during an election cycle, individuals may contribute $2,500 for a federal candidate’s primary election and an additional $2,500 for the general election.

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July 7, 2010 •

H.R. 5609 Passes U.S. House

A bill amending the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 has passed the House of Representatives.

H.R. 5609, which passed on a vote of 408-4, prohibits any registered lobbyist whose clients include foreign governments which are found to be sponsors of international terrorism or include other foreign nationals from making contributions and other campaign-related disbursements in elections for public office. The bill moves to the Senate.

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