Tag Archives: independent expenditures

New Maryland Campaign Finance Law

Last Thursday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a new campaign finance law.  Among other provisions, the law requires disclosure of contributors to independent expenditure and electioneering groups.  The new law, which generally goes into effect in 2015, will require disclosure of the identity of any person contributing $6,000 or more to independent expenditures or independent … Continue Reading

Vermont Bill Proposes Cap on Contributions to State Super PACs

Although over the last year many states have exempted Super PACs—i.e., groups that only make independent expenditures—from the strictures of contributions limits, Vermont may be headed in another direction. This is not the first chapter in the Vermont Super PAC story.  As we noted last July, the Vermont Attorney General declared that the State would … Continue Reading

Super PAC Files Challenge to New Jersey Contribution Limits

A few weeks ago the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission issued an advisory opinion indicating that it would enforce the state’s contribution limits against groups that (i) have a major purpose of influencing New Jersey elections and (ii) do so exclusively by making independent expenditures.  Although the Commission recognized that its position might be … Continue Reading

New Jersey Commission Intends to Enforce Contribution Limits Against State Super PACs

Groups that are planning to run independent expenditures in the New Jersey gubernatorial election this year should be aware of a new advisory opinion issued by the State’s Election Law Enforcement Commission late last week.  Under this latest guidance, groups that support or oppose New Jersey candidates may have to register as political committees and … Continue Reading

Straw Contributors and Corporate Contributions

Corporations can engage in political activity.  But they must be careful how they do so; corporations still face restrictions, such as the prohibition on making contributions to federal candidates.  As we have seen, following a line of cases culminating in Citizens United, corporations may give unlimited sums to Super PACs.  They may also contribute to … Continue Reading

New Frontiers for Pay-to-Play Laws in the Next Election Cycle

Pay-to-play laws, which now exist at the federal, state, and local levels, generally restrict or require disclosure of political contributions by firms seeking to do business with the government.  Hedge funds, private equity funds, and asset management firms are particularly sensitive to such restrictions because of their reliance on investments from state and local government … Continue Reading

Recent Appeals Court Decision Could Send Campaign Finance Reformers Back To Drawing Board

A federal appeals court last week dealt a blow to legislative efforts to limit the effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.  Following Citizens United, campaign finance reformers attempted to restrain independent corporate political speech by pushing for laws which prohibited corporations from funding independent political advertisements unless shareholders first vote to approve … Continue Reading

Federal Court Upholds Super PAC Contribution Limit in New York Races for Now

Since the federal court decisions in Citizens United and SpeechNow, courts, state campaign finance regulators, and state attorneys general have consistently found that Super PACs—entities that make only independent expenditures—are not bound by contribution limits.  Yesterday, a federal court in New York bucked this trend—at least preliminarily. For years the New York State Board of … Continue Reading

FEC Complaints Build as Elections Loom

On October 3, we examined recent allegations of campaign finance violations in Massachusetts and Arizona as illustrations of why campaigns and other organizations must be particularly careful during the final days of the election season.  Just over the past week, we have seen a flurry of additional FEC complaint filings reinforcing the need to take … Continue Reading

Allegations of Illegal Coordination: Not Only Do Elections Have Consequences, Tactics May Also

Several recent news reports are a reminder of the importance of the coordination rules.  The relaxed rules on raising and spending money on “independent expenditures,” either through a Super PAC or some other entity, are premised on that spending being “independent” of the candidate or political party the independent spender is supporting.  There is not … Continue Reading

Electioneering Communications Start to Reemerge After D.C. Circuit’s Van Hollen Ruling

Electioneering communications, perhaps unsurprisingly, have reemerged on the airwaves following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s September 18th reversal of a district court decision in Van Hollen v. FEC that required entities paying for electioneering communications to disclose all of their donors. As we’ve previously noted, in the wake of the district … Continue Reading

Minnesota Regulators to Continue Enforcing Campaign Finance Law Against Super PACs

As we’ve discussed, last week the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit preliminarily struck down the Minnesota campaign finance laws imposing constitutionally burdensome disclosure obligations on associations who only make independent expenditures, such as Super PACs.  But according to recent press reports, the Director of the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public … Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Decision Strikes Down Minnesota Super PAC Restrictions

Since the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, courts and some state attorneys general have drawn a rather firm line in the sand: independent expenditure-only entities (so-called “Super PACs”) are not subject to contribution limits, but they must comply with registration and reporting requirements.  Indeed, the Supreme Court’s statement in Citizens United that … Continue Reading

Contribution Limit Dominoes Continue to Fall for State Super PACs

Yesterday, the Vermont Attorney General announced that it would not enforce the state’s $2,000 statutory contribution limit against independent expenditure PACs.  This policy change in practice allows Super PACs to raise unlimited funds for independent expenditure operations in Vermont.  Notably, the law will remain on the books and will be applied unless the PAC demonstrates … Continue Reading

Rhode Island Revises Its Campaign Finance Laws to Require Additional Disclosure of Independent Expenditures

Rhode Island recently joined the growing list of states that have updated their campaign finance laws to reflect the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.  Important revisions to the state’s statute took effect at the end of June 2012.  The new law requires that independent expenditure ads or electioneering communications aired … Continue Reading