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The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress

The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress. R. Sam Garrett, Specialist in American National Government. June 23, 2016.
“Major changes have occurred in campaign finance policy since 2002, when Congress substantially amended campaign finance law via the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). The Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United and a related lower-court decision, v. FEC, arguably represent the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades. Citizens United lifted a previous ban on corporate (and union) independent expenditures advocating election or defeat of candidates. SpeechNow permitted unlimited contributions supporting such expenditures and facilitated the advent of super PACs. Although campaign finance policy remains the subject of intense debate and public interest, there have been few recent major legislative or regulatory changes. During the 114th Congress, two bills substantially devoted to campaign finance policy have advanced beyond introduction. The Committee on House Administration reported H.R. 412, which would terminate the presidential public financing program. In addition, the committee ordered reported H.R. 4734, which would permit candidates to name someone other than the treasurer to disburse funds if the candidate dies. In activity somewhat related to campaign finance policy, provisions in the FY2016 consolidated appropriations law (P.L. 114-113; H.R. 2029) prohibited some additional reporting requirements surrounding contributions and expenditures. (See also related bills H.R. 2995, S. 1910 , and S. 2132.) FY2017 bills ( H.R. 5485 ; S. 3067 ) also contain provisions related to campaign finance…”

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