April 30, 2010

The reform proposals swirling in reaction to the Citizens United decision have now coalesced into Senate and House bills, introduced by Senator Schumer (D-NY) and Representative Van Hollen (D-Md). Emphasizing that "Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections," The DISCLOSE proposals include:
  • Prohibiting campaign-related expenditures (independent expenditures and electioneering communications) by government contractors in federal elections.
  • Extending the ban against campaign contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals to corporations in which (i) a foreign national directly or indirectly owns 20 percent or more of voting shares, or (ii) a majority of the board of directors are foreign nationals, or (iii) a foreign national has the power to direct corporate decision-making, or to direct the making of a political contribution or expenditure or the administration of the corporation's PAC.  The CEO would certify compliance with the Federal Election Commission in advance of making a contribution or expenditure.
  • Expanding the definition of contribution to include any communication made in cooperation with a candidate or political party committee that refers to a clearly identified candidate for federal office and is publicly distributed in the candidate's jurisdiction within a specified time period ending on the date of the general election (beginning 120 days before the first Presidential primary or caucus for Presidential candidates, and beginning 90 days before the candidate's primary for Congressional candidates).
  • Allowing political party-paid advertising on behalf of party affiliated candidates without limitation, provided that the ads are not controlled by or made at the direction of the candidate.
  • Subjecting corporations, unions, section 501(c)(4), (5), and (6) organizations and section 527 organizations ("covered organizations") that make federal campaign-related expenditures (independent expenditures and electioneering communications) to new disclosure requirements, including information about donors.  Various disclosures would be required to be made to the FEC, to shareholders, and on the organization's website.  Additional disclosures and disclaimers apply to radio and television communications paid for by persons other than political committees (such as a "stand by your ad" statement by the CEO and a similar statement by a "significant funder" of the covered organization).
  • Requiring federally registered lobbyists to disclose any election spending of more than $1,000, and the name of candidate or campaign supported or opposed.

Tag: Federal