Blog Category: FEC
The Supreme Court on April 2nd announced its opinion striking down the Federal aggregate limits on individuals’ political contributions (McCutcheon v. FEC). Prior to this decision, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) had biennial limits on individuals’ contributions to candidates, PACs and political parties. The Supreme Court held that those limits are invalid because they violate the First Amendment and cannot be justified as a means to limit corruption. The decision did not address limits on contributions to any one candidate ($2,600 per election), party or PAC ($5,000): those limits remain in effect.
In our assessment, expanded below, the big winners were political parties, especially state party committees. Candidates will benefit some as well. PACs, including Super PACs, are likely to see only limited effects.
Aristotle’s Senior Vice President of Compliance Services and former FEC Commissioner, David Mason, recently was a guest on NPR’s Morning Edition with Peter Overby to discuss the soon to be extinct taxpayer-funded political conventions:
At Aristotle, we’re always happy when people have fun with compliance. Didn’t think that was possible? As reported elsewhere, the House Ethics Committee’s “Holiday Gift Guidance for House Members and staff” came up with a rhyme this year. So, in the spirit of the season, here’s our own rhyming interpretation of the congressional gift rules.
The FEC recently released a memorandum and policy conclusion on the requirement for state political party committees to maintain monthly employee time logs. The decision amounts to a bad news/good news outcome for state parties. The action also serves as a useful reminder about the importance of the logs.
The Commission concluded that state party committees are required to keep monthly time logs for all committee employees (the bad news), but also announced that the Commission would not pursue enforcement action against committees who fail to keep logs for employees paid with 100% federal funds and reported as such (the good news).
Associations wrestling with the difficult “prior approval” process for PAC solicitation sometimes ask “do we really have to”? A recent FEC enforcement action is a reminder that fines and other penalties can be imposed when associations make PAC solicitations of persons without required prior approval (or direct membership in the association’s solicitable “restricted class”) or without required solicitation notices. FEC documents just released provide useful pointers about what is required as well as some reminders about what is permitted in association PAC fundraising.
“If the question is: Does the aggregate limit [on contributions] to candidates and party committees stop someone from spending all the money they want on politics? The answer is clearly no,” said David Mason, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and senior vice president at the political software and compliance firm Aristotle.
But that’s not the question before the court, Mason said. The justices must instead decide whether they agree with McCutcheon that the aggregate contribution limit poses no corruption risk to candidates or parties. McCutcheon, who’s been joined by the Republican National Committee in his challenge, argues it’s no more corrupting for him to give the maximum $2,600 to 17 candidates than, say, 18 candidates…
By: Ashley Carter
Manager, PAC Outsourcing
On October 8, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC. A case that some are calling the “new Citizens United,” McCutcheon challenges the constitutionality of biennial contribution limits.
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or BCRA, established biennial aggregate contribution limits for individuals ($74,600 for contributions to non-candidate committees and $48,600 for contributions to candidate committees).
“The only place the Federal Election Commission regulations would come into play is if he’s actually making a campaign stop,” said former FEC Chairman David Mason. “If it’s just political in the sense that he’s out there campaigning for his political agenda — immigration reform, health care — there’s certainly no FEC requirement that anybody else reimburse the White House.”
By: Ashley Carter
Outsourcing Account Manager
On June 27th, the Federal Election Commission passed an interpretive rule that clarified how political committees must report the “ultimate payee” for credit card payments, reimbursements to individuals and unreimbursed payments by candidates. While the reporting method outlined in the new rule has been the prescribed form of disclosure for years, it is important for the filing community to understand what this rule means for disclosure and recordkeeping practices.
Year-end FEC filings show campaigns using Aristotle software raised more money in 2012 election cycle
Patent-Pending Data Mining Techniques Powering Election-Year Fundraising Success
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Post-Election reports filed by 1,689 candidates with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show that those campaigns that used Aristotle software performed significantly better in fundraising than those who used any one of the next three most popular software products for fundraising and disclosure utilized in 2012.
Read the full article here >>