Tag Archives: FEC

Covington Issues Client Advisory on Bank Loans and Transactions with Candidates and Political Groups

Covington recently issued an advisory to its bank and financial institution clients explaining the rules governing their business dealings with candidates and political groups. The advisory, which is available here, deals with loans and other transactions that sometimes cause banks to run afoul of Federal Election Commission regulations or government ethics rules. While banks are … Continue Reading

FEC Increases Contribution Limits, Permitting Individuals to Contribute over $800K to National Party Committees

The Federal Election Commission has increased the limits on the amount an individual can contribute to a candidate or national political party for the 2015-2016 election cycle.  An individual can now give up to $2,700 per election to a candidate for federal office, up from $2,600.  Because the primary and general count as separate elections, individuals may now give $5,400 per candidate … Continue Reading

National Party 2.0: FECA Amendments in Omnibus Spending Bill Increase Fundraising Power of National Parties

If you skipped to the final pages of the omnibus spending bill unveiled last night to see how it ends, you would find a rather dramatic change in campaign finance law related to party committee contribution limits.  Page 1599 (of 1603) of the spending package contains amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) that … Continue Reading

A Pyrrhic Victory? The Impact of Today’s District Court Decision on Electioneering Communications (Van Hollen v. FEC)

A U.S. District Court judge today vacated an FEC regulation that limited the degree to which corporations and labor unions must disclose their donors when they pay for an Electioneering Communication.  Van Hollen v. FEC  An Electioneering Communication is a broadcast, cable or satellite communication that features a federal candidate, airs within 30 days of … Continue Reading

FEC Issues Zero Tolerance Decision on Foreign National Contributions

In a little noticed decision earlier this month, the FEC announced the settlement of an enforcement case that sets a compliance standard that few companies may currently meet.  FEC ADR Case 708 (Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. PAC).  The outcome is even more surprising because the case involved a single errant donor the company brought … Continue Reading

In Chevron Case, FEC Brings Clarity to the Federal Contractor Ban and Super PACs

The rules on corporate contributions to Super PACs were made clearer today when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released its finding that Chevron Corporation’s $2.5 million contribution in 2012 to the Congressional Leadership Fund (a Super PAC) had not violated the bar on government contractors making contributions in federal elections. Public Citizen and several environmental … Continue Reading

FEC has said little about earmarking rule discussed in McCutcheon

While McCutcheon concluded the government’s anti-circumvention rationale was too speculative and attenuated to justify the biennial aggregate limits, the Court did discuss “multiple alternatives available” to the government that would serve this interest while still satisfying the First Amendment.  One such suggestion involved “earmarking” rules—which bar donors from trying to circumvent the base limits by … Continue Reading

After McCutcheon, Are Limits on Party Committee and PAC Contributions Justifiable?

The Supreme Court’s latest major campaign finance decision, McCutcheon v. FEC, “does not involve” a challenge to current limits on contributions to political party committees and PACs, which the Court “previously upheld as serving the permissible objective of combatting corruption.”  But it nonetheless provides fodder for those who would challenge party and PAC limits. The … Continue Reading

Don’t Hold Your Breath for a Legislative “Fix” to McCutcheon

In his controlling opinion yesterday in McCutcheon v. FEC, Chief Justice John Roberts struck down the federal aggregate campaign contribution limits.  These limits capped the total amount one individual could give to candidates, party committees, and PACs in a two-year election cycle.  The purpose of the limits was to prevent donors from circumventing the per-candidate … Continue Reading

Super PACs Using Candidates’ B-roll Footage and the FEC’s “Own Message” Cases

The press and comedians have recently focused on campaigns loading “B-roll” footage onto Internet sites where Super PACs and other outside spending groups can download the footage to use in political ads.  Senator McConnell’s campaign’s use of this tactic has drawn the most attention, but it is far from the first or only campaign to … Continue Reading

The Obama Administration’s Changes to the Overtime Pay Rules Could Impact Corporate PACs

The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will revise the regulations that define if an individual is an “executive” or “administrative” employee exempt from the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  This could have an unexpected impact on corporate PACs, potentially shrinking the number of employees eligible to be solicited for … Continue Reading

Covington Releases 2013 FEC Year in Review at its Corporate Political Activity Conference

In conjunction with the Corporate Political Activity and Government Affairs Compliance Conference, which Covington is hosting today in Washington, D.C., the firm’s Election and Political Law Practice Group has issued its 2013 FEC Year in Review.  This is the second year in a row that we have undertaken a systematic study of the major developments … Continue Reading

The More Things Change: The FEC and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.

On Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was unable to agree on whether Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. could sponsor a Separate Segregated Fund (a corporate “SSF” or “PAC” in common parlance) that solicited contributions from the employees of its dealers and service centers.  The request resulted in an unsurprising deadlock and a surprising discussion about … Continue Reading

The Federal Shutdown and the FEC: The Impact on Federal PACs and Other Political Committees

The federal shutdown has resulted in the furlough of all FEC employees except the Commissioners.  As with most agencies, the greatest impact on the regulated community will appear over time: On-line data will grow stale, advisory opinions will be delayed, enforcement cases will not advance.  The FEC has summarized the process here. For political committees, … Continue Reading

FEC Moves to Reconsider Scope of “Spouse” In Light of Supreme Court Decision Striking Down DOMA

As we recently predicted the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act is prompting the FEC to reconsider, and likely revise, its decision in an earlier Advisory Opinion, 2013-02 (“Winslow I”), that the definition of “spouse” under federal election law did not apply to same-sex … Continue Reading

OPEN Sesame or a Potemkin Village?

Twenty House Democrats yesterday introduced proposed legislation that, if enacted in its current form, would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to: Require corporations and labor unions which “submit[] regular, periodic reports” to their shareholders and members to include certain detailed information concerning their political spending.  That information must also be reported to the … Continue Reading

DOMA Invalidation Will Likely Impact Federal Contribution Limits

The Supreme Court’s decision today invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act will impact campaign finance laws as well, probably nowhere more clearly than in casting doubt on the FEC’s February decision advising a candidate for the special U.S. Senate Primary Election in Massachusetts that he could not treat contributions from a same-sex couple married under … Continue Reading

Tenth Circuit Upholds FEC’s Broader Definition of “Express Advocacy”

In a rare move for a federal appellate court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit yesterday released a two-paragraph precedential opinion upholding various federal campaign finance laws and policies by simply adopting the district court’s decision.  The case is captioned Free Speech v. FEC. The most notable part of the district court … Continue Reading

Two New FEC Commissioners To Be Nominated

The White House today announced its intent to nominate two lawyers to serve as commissioners on the six-member Federal Election Commission: Lee Goodman, an election lawyer at LeClairRyan and Ann Ravel, the chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Goodwin has been selected to fill the seat … Continue Reading

A Vote on FEC Enforcement—Part II

Yesterday’s post noted several proposed changes to the Federal Election Commission’s Enforcement Manual that are likely to prove controversial.  Yet there are also proposals in that same document that merit serious consideration, if not outright support, from all on the Commission.  Here are just some suggestions of proposals that could win bi-partisan support. Applying the … Continue Reading

A Vote on FEC Enforcement

The Federal Election Commission made public two versions of its Enforcement Manual today, one based on current practices for handling the agency’s enforcement docket, and one proposing a dramatic shift in how cases could be handled in the future.  The choice between the two versions may be up for discussion at the agency’s next open … Continue Reading
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