Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002

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Often called McCain-Feingold after its cosponsors, Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona and Russell Feingold (D-Wisconsin), the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), implemented a number of changes intended to improve the fairness of U.S. federal elections. It is administered by the Federal Election Commission, and affects areas including:[1]

  • Soft Money
  • Electioneering Communications (Issue Ads)
  • Coordinated and Independent Expenditures
  • Contribution Limitations and Prohibitions
  • Disclaimers, Personal Use of Campaign Funds, etc.
  • Millionaire Candidates

Soft Money

Electioneering Communications

Although the scope has recently been limited by the Supreme Court of the United States in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the legislation forbade corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate [2]. An electioneering communication is “any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication” that “refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office” and is made within 30 days of a primary election,[3], and that is “publicly distributed,” [4],which in “the case of a candidate for nomination for President . . . means” that the communication “[c]an be received by 50,000 or more persons in a State where a primary election . . . is being held within 30 days,” [5]. Corporations and unions may establish a political action committee (PAC) for express advocacy or electioneering communications purposes. [6]

Coordinated and Independent Expenditures

Contribution Limitations and Prohibitions

Disclaimers, Personal Use of Campaign Funds, etc.

Millionaire Candidates

References

  1. Campaign Finance Law Quick Reference for Reporters, Federal Election Commission
  2. 2 U. S. C. §441
  3. 2 USC 434(f)(3)(A)
  4. 11 CFR §100.29(a)(2)
  5. 11 CFR §100.29(b)(3)(ii)
  6. 2 U. S. C. §441b(b)(2)