< Back to S. 1285 (110th Congress, 2007–2009)

Text of the Fair Elections Now Act

This bill was introduced on May 3, 2007, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of May 3, 2007 (Introduced).

Source: GPO

II

110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1285

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 3, 2007

(for himself, Mr. Specter, Mr. Feingold, and Mr. Obama) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration

A BILL

To reform the financing of Senate elections, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Fair Elections Now Act.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents of this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I—Fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns

Subtitle A—Fair elections financing program

Sec. 101. Findings and declarations.

Sec. 102. Eligibility requirements and benefits of fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns.

TITLE V—Fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns

Sec. 501. Definitions.

Sec. 502. Senate Fair Elections Fund.

Sec. 503. Eligibility for allocations from the Fund.

Sec. 504. Seed money contribution requirement.

Sec. 505. Qualifying contribution requirement.

Sec. 506. Contribution and expenditure requirements.

Sec. 507. Debate requirement.

Sec. 508. Certification by Commission.

Sec. 509. Benefits for participating candidates.

Sec. 510. Allocations from the Fund.

Sec. 511. Payment of fair fight funds.

Sec. 512. Administration of the Senate fair elections system.

Sec. 513. Violations and penalties.

Sec. 103. Reporting requirements for nonparticipating candidates.

Sec. 104. Modification of electioneering communication reporting requirements.

Sec. 105. Limitation on coordinated expenditures by political party committees with participating candidates.

Sec. 106. Audits.

Subtitle B—Senate Fair Elections Fund Revenues

Sec. 111. Deposit of proceeds from recovered spectrum auctions.

Subtitle C—Fair Elections Review Commission

Sec. 121. Establishment of Commission.

Sec. 122. Structure and membership of the commission.

Sec. 123. Powers of the Commission.

Sec. 124. Administration.

Sec. 125. Authorization of appropriations.

Sec. 126. Expedited consideration of Commission recommendations.

TITLE II—Voter information

Sec. 201. Broadcasts relating to candidates.

Sec. 202. Political advertisement vouchers for participating candidates.

Sec. 203. FCC to prescribe standardized form for reporting candidate campaign ads.

Sec. 204. Limit on Congressional use of the franking privilege.

TITLE III—Responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission

Sec. 301. Petition for certiorari.

Sec. 302. Filing by Senate candidates with Commission.

Sec. 303. Electronic filing of FEC reports.

TITLE IV—Miscellaneous provisions

Sec. 401. Severability.

Sec. 402. Review of constitutional issues.

Sec. 403. Effective date.

I

Fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns

A

Fair elections financing program

101.

Findings and declarations

(a)

Undermining of democracy by campaign contributions from private sources

The Senate finds and declares that the current system of privately financed campaigns for election to the United States Senate has the capacity, and is often perceived by the public, to undermine democracy in the United States by—

(1)

creating a conflict of interest, perceived or real, by encouraging Senators to accept large campaign contributions from private interests that are directly affected by Federal legislation;

(2)

diminishing or giving the appearance of diminishing a Senator's accountability to constituents by compelling legislators to be accountable to the major contributors who finance their election campaigns;

(3)

violating the democratic principle of one person, one vote and diminishing the meaning of the right to vote by allowing monied interests to have a disproportionate and unfair influence within the political process;

(4)

imposing large, unwarranted costs on taxpayers through legislative and regulatory outcomes shaped by unequal access to lawmakers for campaign contributors;

(5)

driving up the cost of election campaigns, making it difficult for qualified candidates without personal wealth or access to campaign contributions from monied individuals and interest groups to mount competitive Senate election campaigns;

(6)

disadvantaging challengers, because large campaign contributors tend to donate their money to incumbent Senators, thus causing Senate elections to be less competitive; and

(7)

burdening incumbents with a preoccupation with fundraising and thus decreasing the time available to carry out their public responsibilities.

(b)

Enhancement of democracy by providing allocations from the Senate Fair Elections Fund

The Senate finds and declares that providing the option of the replacement of private campaign contributions with allocations from the Senate Fair Elections Fund for all primary, runoff, and general elections to the Senate would enhance American democracy by—

(1)

eliminating the potentially inherent conflict of interest created by the private financing of the election campaigns of public officials, thus restoring public confidence in the integrity and fairness of the electoral and legislative processes;

(2)

increasing the public’s confidence in the accountability of Senators to the constituents who elect them;

(3)

helping to eliminate access to wealth as a determinant of a citizen’s influence within the political process and to restore meaning to the principle of one person, one vote;

(4)

reversing the escalating cost of elections and saving taxpayers billions of dollars that are (or that are perceived to be) currently allocated based upon legislative and regulatory agendas skewed by the influence of campaign contributions;

(5)

creating a more level playing field for incumbents and challengers by creating genuine opportunities for all Americans to run for the Senate and by encouraging more competitive elections; and

(6)

freeing Senators from the incessant preoccupation with raising money, and allowing them more time to carry out their public responsibilities.

102.

Eligibility requirements and benefits of fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns

The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

V

Fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns

501.

Definitions

In this title:

(1)

Allocation from the Fund

The term allocation from the Fund means an allocation of money from the Senate Fair Elections Fund to a participating candidate pursuant to sections 510 and 511.

(2)

Fair elections qualifying period

The term fair elections qualifying period means, with respect to any candidate for Senator, the period—

(A)

beginning on the date on which the candidate files a statement of intent under section 503(a)(1); and

(B)

ending on the date that is 30 days before—

(i)

the date of the primary election; or

(ii)

in the case of a State that does not hold a primary election, the date prescribed by State law as the last day to qualify for a position on the general election ballot.

(3)

Fair elections start date

The term fair elections start date means, with respect to any candidate, the date that is 180 days before—

(A)

the date of the primary election; or

(B)

in the case of a State that does not hold a primary election, the date prescribed by State law as the last day to qualify for a position on the general election ballot.

(4)

Fund

The term Fund means the Senate Fair Elections Fund established by section 502.

(5)

Immediate family

The term immediate family means, with respect to any candidate—

(A)

the candidate’s spouse;

(B)

a child, stepchild, parent, grandparent, brother, half-brother, sister, or half-sister of the candidate or the candidate’s spouse; and

(C)

the spouse of any person described in subparagraph (B).

(6)

Independent candidate

The term independent candidate means a candidate for Senator who is—

(A)

not affiliated with any political party; or

(B)

affiliated with a political party that—

(i)

in the case of a candidate in a State that holds a primary election for Senator, does not hold a primary election for Senator; or

(ii)

in the case of a candidate in a State that does not hold primary election for Senator, does not have ballot status in such State.

(7)

Major party candidate

(A)

In general

The term major party candidate means a candidate for Senator who is affiliated with a major political party.

(B)

Major political party

The term major political party means, with respect to any State, a political party of which a candidate for the office of Senator, President, or Governor in the preceding 5 years, received, as a candidate of that party in such State, 25 percent or more of the total number of popular votes cast for such office in such State.

(8)

Minor party candidate

The term minor party candidate means a candidate for Senator who is affiliated with a political party that—

(A)

holds a primary for Senate nominations; and

(B)

is not a major political party.

(9)

Nonparticipating candidate

The term nonparticipating candidate means a candidate for Senator who is not a participating candidate.

(10)

Participating candidate

The term participating candidate means a candidate for Senator who is certified under section 508 as being eligible to receive an allocation from the Fund.

(11)

Qualifying contribution

The term qualifying contribution means, with respect to a candidate, a contribution that—

(A)

is in the amount of $5 exactly;

(B)

is made by an individual who—

(i)

is a resident of the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election; and

(ii)

is not prohibited from making a contribution under this Act;

(C)

is made during the fair elections qualifying period; and

(D)

meets the requirements of section 505(c).

(12)

Seed money contribution

The term seed money contribution means a contribution or contributions by any 1 individual—

(A)

aggregating not more than $100; and

(B)

made to a candidate after the date of the most recent previous election for the office which the candidate is seeking and before the date the candidate has been certified as a participating candidate under section 508(a).

502.

Senate Fair Elections Fund

(a)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury a fund to be known as the Senate Fair Elections Fund.

(b)

Amounts held by Fund

The Fund shall consist of the following amounts:

(1)

Proceeds from recovered spectrum

Proceeds deposited into the Fund under section 309(j)(8)(E)(ii)(II) of the Communications Act of 1934.

(2)

Excess spectrum user fees

Amounts deposited in the Fund under section 315A(f)(2)(B)(ii) of the Communications Act of 1934.

(3)

Voluntary contributions

Voluntary contributions to the fund.

(4)

Qualifying contributions, penalties, and other deposits

Amounts deposited into the Fund under—

(A)

section 504(2) (relating to limitation on amount of seed money);

(B)

section 505(d) (relating to deposit of qualifying contributions);

(C)

section 506(c) (relating to exceptions to contribution requirements);

(D)

section 509(c) (relating to remittance of allocations from the Fund);

(E)

section 513 (relating to violations); and

(F)

any other section of this Act.

(5)

Investment returns

Interest on, and the proceeds from, the sale or redemption of, any obligations held by the Fund under subsection (c).

(c)

Investment

The Commission shall invest portions of the Fund in obligations of the United States in the same manner as provided under section 9602(b) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

(d)

Use of Fund

(1)

In general

The sums in the Senate Fair Elections Fund shall be used to make allocations to participating candidates in accordance with sections 510 and 511.

(2)

Insufficient amounts

Under regulations established by the Commission, rules similar to the rules of section 9006(c) of the Internal Revenue Code shall apply.

503.

Eligibility for allocations from the Fund

(a)

In general

A candidate for Senator is eligible to receive an allocation from the Fund for any election if the candidate meets the following requirements:

(1)

The candidate files with the Commission a statement of intent to seek certification as a participating candidate under this title during the period beginning on the fair elections start date and ending on the last day of the fair elections qualifying period.

(2)

The candidate has complied with the seed money contribution requirements of section 504.

(3)

The candidate meets the qualifying contribution requirements of section 505.

(4)

Not later than the last day of the fair elections qualifying period, the candidate files with the Commission an affidavit signed by the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate's principal campaign committee declaring that the candidate—

(A)

has complied and, if certified, will comply with the contribution and expenditure requirements of section 506;

(B)

if certified, will comply with the debate requirements of section 507;

(C)

if certified, will not run as a nonparticipating candidate during such year in any election for the office that such candidate is seeking; and

(D)

has either qualified or will take steps to qualify under State law to be on the ballot.

(b)

General election

Notwithstanding subsection (a), a candidate shall not be eligible to receive an allocation from the Fund for a general election or a general run off election unless the candidate’s party nominated the candidate to be placed on the ballot for the general election or the candidate qualified to be placed on the ballot as an independent candidate, and the candidate is qualified under State law to be on the ballot.

504.

Seed money contribution requirement

A candidate for Senator meets the seed money contribution requirements of this section if the candidate meets the following requirements:

(1)

Separate accounting

The candidate maintains seed money contributions in a separate account.

(2)

Limitation on amount

The candidate deposits into the Senate Fair Elections Fund or returns to donors an amount equal to the amount of any seed money contributions which, in the aggregate, exceed the sum of—

(A)

in the case of an independent candidate, the amount which the candidate would be entitled to under section 510(c)(3); and

(B)

in the case of any other candidate, the amount which the candidate would be entitled to under section 510(c)(1).

(3)

Use of seed money

The candidate makes expenditures from seed money contributions only for campaign-related costs.

(4)

Records

The candidate maintains a record of the name and street address of any contributor of a seed money contribution and the amount of any such contribution.

(5)

Report

Unless a seed money contribution or an expenditure made with a seed money contribution has been reported previously under section 304, the candidate files with the Commission a report disclosing all seed money contributions and expenditures not later than 48 hours after receiving notification of the determination with respect to the certification of the candidate under section 508.

505.

Qualifying contribution requirement

(a)

In general

A candidate for Senator meets the requirement of this section if, during the fair elections qualifying period, the candidate obtains a number of qualifying contributions equal to the sum of—

(1)

2,000; plus

(2)

500 for each congressional district in excess of 1 in the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election.

(b)

Special rule for certain candidates

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding subsection (a), in the case of a candidate described in paragraph (2), the requirement of this section is met if, during the fair elections qualifying period, the candidate obtains a number of qualifying contributions equal to 150 percent of the number of qualifying contributions that such candidate would be required to obtain without regard to this subsection.

(2)

Candidate described

A candidate is described in this paragraph if—

(A)

the candidate is a minor party candidate or an independent candidate; and

(B)

in the most recent general election involving the office of Senator, President, or Governor in the State in which the candidate is seeking office, the candidate and all candidates of the same political party as such candidate received less than 5 percent of the total number of votes cast for each such office.

(c)

Requirements relating to receipt of qualifying contribution

Each qualifying contribution—

(1)

may be made by means of a personal check, money order, debit card, or credit card;

(2)

shall be payable to the Senate Fair Elections Fund;

(3)

shall be accompanied by a signed statement containing—

(A)

the contributor’s name and home address;

(B)

an oath declaring that the contributor—

(i)

is a resident of the State in which the candidate with respect to whom the contribution is made is running for election;

(ii)

understands that the purpose of the qualifying contribution is to show support for the candidate so that the candidate may qualify for public financing;

(iii)

is making the contribution in his or her own name and from his or her own funds;

(iv)

has made the contribution willingly; and

(v)

has not received any thing of value in return for the contribution; and

(4)

shall be acknowledged by a receipt that is sent to the contributor with a copy kept by the candidate for the Commission and a copy kept by the candidate for the election authorities in the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election.

(d)

Deposit of qualifying contributions

(1)

In general

Not later than 21 days after obtaining a qualifying contribution, a candidate shall—

(A)

deposit such contribution into the Senate Fair Elections Fund, and

(B)

remit to the Commission a copy of the receipt for such contribution.

(2)

Deposit of contributions after certification

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), all qualifying contributions obtained by a candidate shall be deposited into the Senate Fair Elections Fund and all copies of receipts for such contributions shall be remitted to the Commission not later than—

(A)

in the case of a candidate who is denied certification under section 508, 3 days after receiving a notice of denial of certification under section 508(a)(2); and

(B)

in any other case, not later than the last day of the fair elections qualifying period.

(e)

Verification of qualifying contributions

The Commission shall establish procedures for the auditing and verification of qualifying contributions to ensure that such contributions meet the requirements of this section. Such procedures may provide for verification through the means of a postcard or other method, as determined by the Commission.

506.

Contribution and expenditure requirements

(a)

General rule

A candidate for Senator meets the requirements of this section if, during the election cycle of the candidate, the candidate—

(1)

except as provided in subsection (b), accepts no contributions other than—

(A)

seed money contributions;

(B)

qualifying contributions made payable to the Senate Fair Elections Fund;

(C)

allocations from the Senate Fair Elections Fund under sections 510 and 511; and

(D)

vouchers provided to the candidate under section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934;

(2)

makes no expenditures from any amounts other than from—

(A)

amounts received from seed money contributions;

(B)

amounts received from the Senate Fair Elections Fund; and

(C)

vouchers provided to the candidate under section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934; and

(3)

makes no expenditures from personal funds or the funds of any immediate family member (other than funds received through seed money contributions).

For purposes of this subsection, a payment made by a political party in coordination with a participating candidate shall not be treated as a contribution to or as an expenditure made by the participating candidate.
(b)

Contributions for leadership PACs, etc

A political committee of a participating candidate which is not an authorized committee of such candidate may accept contributions other than contributions described in subsection (a)(1) from any person if—

(1)

the aggregate contributions from such person for any for a calendar year do not exceed $100; and

(2)

no portion of such contributions is disbursed in connection with the campaign of the participating candidate.

(c)

Exception

(1)

In general

Notwithstanding subsection (a), a candidate shall not be treated as having failed to meet the requirements of this section if any contributions accepted before the date the candidate files a statement of intent under section 503(a)(1) are not expended and are—

(A)

returned to the contributor; or

(B)

submitted to the Federal Election Commission for deposit in the Senate Fair Elections Fund.

(2)

Special rule for seed money contributions and contributions for leadership PACs

For purposes of paragraph (1), a candidate shall not be required to return, donate, or submit any portion of the aggregate amount of contributions from any person which is $100 or less to the extent that such contribution—

(A)

otherwise qualifies as a seed money contribution; or

(B)

otherwise meets the requirements of subsection (b).

(3)

Special rule for contributions before the date of enactment of this title

Notwithstanding subsection (a), a candidate shall not be treated as having failed to meet the requirements of this section if any contributions accepted before the date of the enactment of this title are not expended and are—

(A)

returned to the contributor;

(B)

donated to an organization described in section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(C)

donated to a political party;

(D)

used to retire campaign debt; or

(E)

submitted to the Federal Election Commission for deposit in the Senate Fair Elections Fund.

507.

Debate requirement

A candidate for Senator meets the requirements of this section if the candidate participates in at least—

(1)

1 public debate before the primary election with other participating candidates and other willing candidates from the same party and seeking the same nomination as such candidate; and

(2)

2 public debates before the general election with other participating candidates and other willing candidates seeking the same office as such candidate.

508.

Certification by Commission

(a)

In general

Not later than 5 days after a candidate for Senator files an affidavit under section 503(a)(4), the Commission shall—

(1)

certify whether or not the candidate is a participating candidate; and

(2)

notify the candidate of the Commission's determination.

(b)

Revocation of certification

(1)

In general

The Commission may revoke a certification under subsection (a) if—

(A)

a candidate fails to qualify to appear on the ballot at any time after the date of certification; or

(B)

a candidate otherwise fails to comply with the requirements of this title.

(2)

Repayment of benefits

If certification is revoked under paragraph (1), the candidate shall repay—

(A)

to the Senate Fair Elections Fund an amount equal to the value of benefits received under this title plus interest (at a rate determined by the Commission) on any such amount received; and

(B)

to Federal Communications Commission an amount equal to the amount of the dollar value of vouchers which were received from the Federal Communications Commission under section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934 and used by the candidate.

509.

Benefits for participating candidates

(a)

In general

A participating candidate shall be entitled to—

(1)

for each election with respect to which a candidate is certified as a participating candidate—

(A)

an allocation from the Fund to make or obligate to make expenditures with respect to such election, as provided in section 510;

(B)

fair fight funds, as provided in section 511; and

(2)

for the general election, vouchers for broadcasts of political advertisements, as provided in section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 315A).

(b)

Restriction on uses of allocations from the Fund

Allocations from the Fund received by a participating candidate under sections 510 and 511 may only be used for campaign-related costs.

(c)

Remitting allocations from the Fund

Not later than the date that is 45 days after the date of the election, a participating candidate shall remit to the Commission for deposit in the Senate Fair Elections Fund any unspent amounts paid to such candidate under this title for such election.

510.

Allocations from the Fund

(a)

In general

The Commission shall make allocations from the Fund under section 509(a)(1)(A) to a participating candidate—

(1)

in the case of amounts provided under subsection (c)(1), not later than 48 hours after the date on which such candidate is certified as a participating candidate under section 508;

(2)

in the case of a general election, not later than 48 hours after—

(A)

the date the certification of the results of the primary election or the primary runoff election; or

(B)

in any case in which there is no primary election, the date the candidate qualifies to be placed on the ballot; and

(3)

in the case of a primary runoff election or a general runoff election, not later than 48 hours after the certification of the results of the primary election or the general election, as the case may be.

(b)

Method of payment

The Commission shall distribute funds available to participating candidates under this section through the use of an electronic funds exchange or a debit card.

(c)

Amounts

(1)

Primary election allocation; initial allocation

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraphs (B), the Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund for a primary election to a participating candidate in an amount equal to 67 percent of the base amount with respect to such participating candidate.

(B)

Independent candidates

In the case of a participating candidate who is an independent candidate, the Commission shall make an initial allocation from the Fund in an amount equal to 25 percent of the base amount with respect to such candidate.

(C)

Reduction for excess seed money

An allocation from the Fund for any candidate under this paragraph shall be reduced by an amount equal to the aggregate amount of seed money contributions received by the candidate in excess of the sum of—

(i)

$75,000; plus

(ii)

$7,500 for each congressional district in excess of 1 in the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election.

(2)

Primary runoff election allocation

The Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund for a primary runoff election to a participating candidate in an amount equal to 25 percent of the amount the participating candidate was eligible to receive under this section for the primary election.

(3)

General election allocation

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund for a general election to a participating candidate in an amount equal to the base amount with respect to such candidate.

(B)

Uncontested elections

(i)

In general

The Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund to a participating candidate for a general election that is uncontested in an amount equal to 25 percent of the base amount with respect to such candidate.

(ii)

Uncontested elections

For purposes of this subparagraph, an election is uncontested if not more than 1 candidate has received contributions (including payments from the Senate Fair Elections Fund) in an amount equal to or greater than the lesser of—

(I)

the amount in effect for a candidate in such election under paragraph (1)(C), or

(II)

an amount equal to 50 percent of the base amount with respect to such candidate.

(C)

Reduction for excess seed money

The allocation from the Fund for the general election for any participating candidate in a State that does not hold a primary election shall be reduced by an amount equal to the aggregate amount of seed money contributions received by the candidate in excess of the sum of—

(i)

$75,000; plus

(ii)

$7,500 for each congressional district in excess of 1 in the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election.

(4)

General runoff election allocation

The Commission shall make an allocation from the Fund for a general runoff election to a participating candidate in an amount equal to 25 percent of the base amount with respect to such candidate.

(d)

Base amount

(1)

In general

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the base amount for any candidate is an amount equal to the sum of—

(A)

$750,000; plus

(B)

$150,000 for each congressional district in excess of 1 in the State with respect to which the candidate is seeking election.

(2)

Minor party and independent candidates

(A)

Reduced amount for certain candidates

(i)

In general

In the case of a minor party candidate or independent candidate described clause (ii), the base amount is an amount equal to the product of—

(I)

a fraction the numerator of which is the highest percentage of the vote received by the candidate or a candidate of the same political party as such candidate in the election described in clause (ii) and the denominator of which is 25 percent; and

(II)

the amount that would (but for this paragraph) be the base amount for the candidate under paragraph (1).

(ii)

Candidate described

A candidate is described in this clause if, in the most recent general election involving the office of Senator, President, or Governor in the State in which the candidate is seeking office—

(I)

such candidate, or any candidate of the same political party as such candidate, received 5 percent or more of the total number of votes cast for any such office; and

(II)

such candidate and all candidates of the same political party as such candidate received less than 25 percent of the total number of votes cast for each such office.

(B)

Exception

Subparagraph (A) shall not apply to any candidate if such candidate receives a number of qualifying contributions which is greater than 150 percent of the number of qualifying contributions such candidate is required to receive in order to meet the requirements of section 505(a).

(3)

Indexing

In each odd-numbered year after 2010—

(A)

each dollar amount under paragraph (1) shall be increased by the percent difference between the price index (as defined in section 315(c)(2)(A)) for the 12 months preceding the beginning of such calendar year and the price index for calendar year 2008;

(B)

each dollar amount so increased shall remain in effect for the 2-year period beginning on the first day following the date of the last general election in the year preceding the year in which the amount is increased and ending on the date of the next general election; and

(C)

if any amount after adjustment under subparagraph (A) is not a multiple of $100, such amount shall be rounded to the nearest multiple of $100.

(4)

Adjustment by media market

(A)

In general

The Commission, in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission, shall establish an index reflecting the costs of the media markets in each State.

(B)

Adjustment

At the beginning of each year, the Commission shall increase the amount under paragraph (1) (after application of paragraph (3)) based on the index established under subparagraph (A).

511.

Payment of fair fight funds

(a)

Determination of right to payment

(1)

In general

The Commission shall, on a regular basis, make a determination on—

(A)

the amount of opposing funds with respect to each participating candidate, and

(B)

the applicable amount with respect to each participating candidate.

(2)

Basis of determinations

The Commission shall make determinations under paragraph (1) based on—

(A)

reports filed by the relevant opposing candidate under section 304(a) with respect to amounts described in subsection (c)(1)(A)(i)(I); and

(B)

reports filed by political committees under section 304(a) and by other persons under section 304(c) with respect to—

(i)

opposing funds described in clauses (ii)(I) and (iii)(I) of subsection (c)(1)(A); and

(ii)

applicable amounts described in subparagraphs (B)(i) and (C)(i) of subsection (b)(2).

(3)

Requests for determination relating to certain electioneering communications

(A)

In general

A participating candidate may request to the Commission to make a determination under paragraph (1) with respect to any relevant opposing candidate with respect to—

(i)

opposing funds described in clauses (ii)(II) and (iii)(II) of subsection (c)(1)(A); and

(ii)

applicable amounts described in subparagraphs (B)(ii) and (C)(ii) of subsection (b)(2).

(B)

Time for making determination

In the case of any such request, the Commission shall make such determination and notify the participating candidate of such determination not later than—

(i)

24 hours after receiving such request during the 3-week period ending on the date of the election, and

(ii)

48 hours after receiving such request at any other time.

(b)

Payments

(1)

In general

The Commission shall make available to the participating candidate fair fight funds in an amount equal to the amount of opposing funds that is in excess of the applicable amount—

(A)

immediately after making any determination under subsection (a) with respect to any participating candidate during the 3-week period ending on the date of the election, and

(B)

not later than 24 hours after making such determination at any other time.

(2)

Applicable amount

For purposes of this section, the applicable amount is an amount equal to the sum of—

(A)

the sum of—

(i)

the amount of seed money contribution received by the participating candidate;

(ii)

in the case of a general election, the value of any vouchers received by the candidate under section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934; plus

(iii)
(I)

in the case of a participating candidate who is a minor party candidate running in a general election or an independent candidate, the allocation from the Fund which would have been provided to such candidate for such election if such candidate were a major party candidate; or

(II)

in the case of any other participating candidate, an amount equal to the allocation from the Fund to such candidate for such election under section 510(c);

(B)

the sum of—

(i)

the amount of independent expenditures made advocating the election of the participating candidate; plus

(ii)

the amount of disbursements for electioneering communications which promote or support such participating candidate;

(C)

the sum of—

(i)

the amount of independent expenditures made advocating the defeat of the relevant opposing candidate; plus

(ii)

the amount of disbursements for electioneering communications which attack or oppose the relevant opposing candidate; plus

(D)

the amount of fair fight funds previously provided to the participating candidate under this subsection for the election.

(3)

Limits on amount of payment

The aggregate of fair fight funds that a participating candidate receives under this subsection for any election shall not exceed 200 percent of the allocation from the Fund that the participating candidate receives for such election under section 510(c).

(c)

Definitions

For purposes of this section—

(1)

Opposing funds

(A)

In general

The term opposing funds means, with respect to any participating candidate for any election, the sum of—

(i)
(I)

the greater of the total contributions received by the relevant opposing candidate or the total expenditures made by such relevant opposing candidate; or

(II)

in the case of a relevant opposing candidate who is a participating candidate, an amount equal to the sum of the amount of seed money contributions received by the relevant opposing candidate, the value of any vouchers received by the relevant opposing candidate for the general election under section 315A of the Communications Act of 1934, and the allocation from the Fund under section 510(c) for the relevant opposing candidate for such election;

(ii)

the sum of—

(I)

the amount of independent expenditures made advocating the election of such relevant opposing candidate; plus

(II)

the amount of disbursements for electioneering communications which promote or support such relevant opposing candidate; plus

(iii)

the sum of—

(I)

the amount of independent expenditures made advocating the defeat of such participating candidate; plus

(II)

the amount of disbursements for electioneering communications which attack or oppose such participating candidate.

(2)

Relevant opposing candidate

The term relevant opposing candidate means, with respect to any participating candidate, the opposing candidate of such participating candidate with respect to whom the amount under paragraph (1) is the greatest.

(3)

Electioneering communication

The term electioneering communication has the meaning given such term under section 304(f)(3), except that subparagraph (A)(i)(II)(aa) thereof shall be applied by substituting 30 for 60.

512.

Administration of the Senate fair elections system

(a)

Regulations

The Commission shall prescribe regulations to carry out the purposes of this title, including regulations—

(1)

to establish procedures for—

(A)

verifying the amount of valid qualifying contributions with respect to a candidate;

(B)

effectively and efficiently monitoring and enforcing the limits on the use of personal funds by participating candidates;

(C)

the expedited payment of fair fight funds during the 3-week period ending on the date of the election;

(D)

monitoring the use of allocations from the Fund under this title through audits or other mechanisms; and

(E)

returning unspent disbursements and disposing of assets purchased with allocations from the Fund;

(2)

providing for the administration of the provisions of this title with respect to special elections;

(3)

pertaining to the replacement of candidates;

(4)

regarding the conduct of debates in a manner consistent with the best practices of States that provide public financing for elections; and

(5)

for attributing expenditures to specific elections for the purposes of calculating opposing funds.

(b)

Operation of Commission

The Commission shall maintain normal business hours during the weekend immediately before any general election for the purposes of administering the provisions of this title, including the distribution of fair fight funds under section 511.

(c)

Reports

Not later than April 1, 2009, and every 2 years thereafter, the Commission shall submit to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration a report documenting, evaluating, and making recommendations relating to the administrative implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this title.

513.

Violations and penalties

(a)

Civil penalty for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements

If a candidate who has been certified as a participating candidate under section 508(a) accepts a contribution or makes an expenditure that is prohibited under section 506, the Commission shall assess a civil penalty against the candidate in an amount that is not more than 3 times the amount of the contribution or expenditure. Any amounts collected under this subsection shall be deposited into the Senate Fair Elections Fund.

(b)

Repayment for improper use of Fair Elections Fund

(1)

In general

If the Commission determines that any benefit made available to a participating candidate under this title was not used as provided for in this title or that a participating candidate has violated any of the dates for remission of funds contained in this title, the Commission shall so notify the candidate and the candidate shall pay to the Senate Fair Elections Fund an amount equal to—

(A)

the amount of benefits so used or not remitted, as appropriate, and

(B)

interest on any such amounts (at a rate determined by the Commission).

(2)

Other action not precluded

Any action by the Commission in accordance with this subsection shall not preclude enforcement proceedings by the Commission in accordance with section 309(a), including a referral by the Commission to the Attorney General in the case of an apparent knowing and willful violation of this title.

.

103.

Reporting requirements for nonparticipating candidates

(a)

In general

Section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 434) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(i)

Nonparticipating candidates

(1)

Initial report

(A)

In general

Each nonparticipating candidate who is opposed to a participating candidate and who receives contributions or makes expenditures aggregating more than the threshold amount shall, within 48 hours of the date such aggregate contributions or expenditures exceed the threshold amount, file with the Commission a report stating the total amount of contributions received and expenditures made or obligated by such candidate.

(B)

Threshold amount

For purposes of this paragraph, the term threshold amount means 75 percent of the allocation from the Fund that a participating candidate would be entitled to receive in such election under section 510 if the participating candidate were a major party candidate.

(2)

Periodic reports

(A)

In general

In addition to any reports required under subsection (a), each nonparticipating candidate who is required to make a report under paragraph (1) shall make the following reports:

(i)

A report which shall be filed not later than 5 p.m. on the forty-second day before the date on which the election involving such candidate is held and which shall be complete through the forty-fourth day before such date.

(ii)

A report which shall be filed not later than 5 p.m. on the twenty-first day before the date on which the election involving such candidate is held and which shall be complete through the twenty-third day before such date.

(iii)

A report which shall be filed not later than 5 p.m. on the twelfth day before the date on which the election involving such candidate is held and which shall be complete through the fourteenth day before such date.

(B)

Additional reporting within 2 weeks of election

Each nonparticipating candidate who is required to make a report under paragraph (1) and who receives contributions or makes expenditures aggregating more than $1,000 at any time after the fourteenth day before the date of the election involving such candidate shall make a report to the Commission not later than 24 hours after such contributions are received or such expenditures are made.

(C)

Contents of report

Each report required under this paragraph shall state the total amount of contributions received and expenditures made or obligated to be made during the period covered by the report.

(3)

Definitions

For purposes of this subsection and section 309(a)(13), the terms nonparticipating candidate, participating candidate, and allocation from the Fund have the respective meanings given to such terms under section 501.

.

(b)

Increased penalty for failure To file

Section 309(a) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 437(g)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

(13)

Increased civil penalties with respect to reporting by nonparticipating candidates

For purposes of paragraphs (5) and (6), any civil penalty with respect to a violation of section 304(i) shall not exceed the greater of—

(A)

the amount otherwise applicable without regard to this paragraph; or

(B)

for each day of the violation, 3 times the amount of the fair fight funds under section 511 that otherwise would have been allocated to the participating candidate but for such violation.

.

104.

Modification of electioneering communication reporting requirements

Paragraph (2) of section 304(f) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 434(f)(2)) is amended by redesignating subparagraphs (E) and (F) as subparagraphs (F) and (G), respectively, and by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following new subparagraph:

(E)

in the case of a communication referring to any candidate in an election involving a participating candidate (as defined under section 501(9)), a transcript of the electioneering communication.

.

105.

Limitation on coordinated expenditures by political party committees with participating candidates

(a)

In general

Section 315(d)(3) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441a(d)) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A) and (B) as subparagraphs (B) and (C), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting before subparagraph (B), as redesignated by paragraph (1), the following new subparagraph:

(A)

in the case of a candidate for election to the office of Senator who is a participating candidate (as defined in section 501), the lesser of—

(i)

10 percent of the allocation from the Senate Elections Fund that the participating candidate is eligible to receive for the general election under section 510(c)(3); or

(ii)

the amount which would (but for this subparagraph) apply with respect to such candidate under subparagraph (B);

.

(b)

Conforming amendment

Subparagraph (B) of section 315(d)(3) of such Act, as redesignated by subsection (a), is amended by inserting who is not a participating candidate (as so defined) after office of Senator.

106.

Audits

Section 311(b) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 438(b)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (1) before The Commission; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(2)

Audits of participating candidates

(A)

In general

Notwithstanding paragraph (1), after every primary, general, and runoff election, the Commission shall conduct random audits and investigations of not less than 30 percent of the authorized committees of candidates who are participating candidates (as defined in section 501).

(B)

Selection of subjects

The subjects of audits and investigations under this paragraph shall be selected on the basis of impartial criteria established by a vote of at least 4 members of the Commission.

.

B

Senate Fair Elections Fund Revenues

111.

Deposit of proceeds from recovered spectrum auctions

Section 309(j)(8)(E)(ii) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 309(j)(8)(E)(ii)) is amended—

(1)

by striking deposited in and inserting the following: “deposited as follows:

(I)

90 percent of such proceeds deposited in

; and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(II)

10 percent of such proceeds deposited in the Senate Fair Elections Fund established under section 502 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1972.

.

C

Fair Elections Review Commission

121.

Establishment of Commission

(a)

Establishment

There is established a commission to be known as the Fair Elections Review Commission (hereafter in this subtitle referred to as the Commission).

(b)

Duties

(1)

Review of fair elections financing

(A)

In general

After each general election for Federal office, the Commission shall conduct a comprehensive review of the Senate fair elections financing program under title V of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974, including—

(i)

the number and value of qualifying contributions a candidate is required to obtain under section 505 of such Act to qualify for allocations from the Fund;

(ii)

the amount of allocations from the Senate Fair Elections Fund that candidates may receive under sections 510 and 511 of such Act;

(iii)

the overall satisfaction of participating candidates with the program; and

(iv)

such other matters relating to financing of Senate campaigns as the Commission determines are appropriate.

(B)

Criteria for review

In conducting the review under subparagraph (A), the Commission shall consider the following:

(i)

Review of qualifying contribution requirements

The Commission shall consider whether the number and value of qualifying contributions required strikes a balance between the importance of voter choice and fiscal responsibility, taking into consideration the number of primary and general election participating candidates, the electoral performance of those candidates, program cost, and any other information the Commission determines is appropriate.

(ii)

Review of program allocations

The Commission shall consider whether allocations from the Senate Elections Fund under sections 510 ad 511 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 are sufficient for voters in each State to learn about the candidates to cast an informed vote, taking into account the historic amount of spending by winning candidates, media costs, primary election dates, and any other information the Commission determines is appropriate.

(2)

Report, recommendations, and proposed legislative language

(A)

Report

Not later than March 30 following any general election for Federal office, the Commission shall submit a report to Congress on the review conducted under paragraph (1). Such report shall contain a detailed statement of the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the Commission based on such review, and shall contain any proposed legislative language (as required under subparagraph (C)) of the Commission.

(B)

Findings, conclusions, and recommendations

A finding, conclusion, or recommendation of the Commission shall be included in the report under subparagraph (A) only if not less than 3 members of the Commission voted for such finding, conclusion, or recommendation.

(C)

Legislative language

(i)

In general

The report under subparagraph (A) shall include legislative language with respect to any recommendation involving—

(I)

an increase in the number or value of qualifying contributions; or

(II)

an increase in the amount of allocations from the Senate Elections Fund.

(ii)

Form

The legislative language shall be in the form of a proposed bill for introduction in Congress and shall not include any recommendation not related to matter described subclause (I) or (II) of clause (i)

122.

Structure and membership of the commission

(a)

Appointment

(1)

In general

The Commission shall be composed of 5 members, of whom—

(A)

1 shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate;

(B)

1 shall be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate; and

(C)

3 shall be appointed jointly by the members appointed under subparagraphs (A) and (B).

(2)

Qualifications

(A)

In general

The members shall be individuals who are nonpartisan and, by reason of their education, experience, and attainments, exceptionally qualified to perform the duties of members of the Commission.

(B)

Prohibition

No member of the Commission may be—

(i)

a member of Congress;

(ii)

an employee of the Federal government;

(iii)

a registered lobbyist; or

(iv)

an officer or employee of a political party or political campaign.

(3)

Date

Members of the Commission shall be appointed not later than 60 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(4)

Terms

A member of the Commission shall be appointed for a term of 5 years.

(b)

Vacancies

A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled not later than 30 calendar days after the date on which the Commission is given notice of the vacancy, in the same manner as the original appointment. The individual appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired portion of the term for which the individual’s predecessor was appointed.

(c)

Chairperson

The Commission shall designate a Chairperson from among the members of the Commission.

123.

Powers of the Commission

(a)

Meetings and hearings

(1)

Meetings

The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out the purposes of this Act.

(2)

Quorum

Four members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for purposes of voting, but a quorum is not required for members to meet and hold hearings.

(b)

Information from Federal agencies

The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. Upon request of the Chairperson of the Commission, the head of such department or agency shall furnish such information to the Commission.

(c)

Postal services

The Commission may use the United States mails in the same manner and under the same conditions as other departments and agencies of the Federal Government.

(d)

Gifts

The Commission may accept, use, and dispose of gifts or donations of services or property.

124.

Administration

(a)

Compensation of members

(1)

In general

(A)

In general

Each member, other than the Chairperson, shall be paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the minimum annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission.

(B)

Chairperson

The Chairperson shall be paid at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the minimum annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level III of the Executive Schedule under section 5314 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission.

(2)

Travel expenses

Members shall receive travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, in accordance with sections 5702 and 5703 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in performance of services for the Commission.

(b)

Personnel

(1)

Director

The Commission shall have a staff headed by an Executive Director. The Executive Director shall be paid at a rate equivalent to a rate established for the Senior Executive Service under section 5382 of title 5, United States Code.

(2)

Staff appointment

With the approval of the Chairperson, the Executive Director may appoint such personnel as the Executive Director and the Commission determines to be appropriate.

(3)

Actuarial experts and consultants

With the approval of the Chairperson, the Executive Director may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code.

(4)

Detail of government employees

Upon the request of the Chairperson, the head of any Federal agency may detail, without reimbursement, any of the personnel of such agency to the Commission to assist in carrying out the duties of the Commission. Any such detail shall not interrupt or otherwise affect the civil service status or privileges of the Federal employee.

(5)

Other resources

The Commission shall have reasonable access to materials, resources, statistical data, and other information from the Library of Congress and other agencies and elected representatives of the executive and legislative branches of the Federal Government. The Chairperson of the Commission shall make requests for such access in writing when necessary.

125.

Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the purposes of this subtitle.

126.

Expedited consideration of Commission recommendations

(a)

Introduction and committee consideration

(1)

Introduction

Not later than 60 days after the Commission files a report under section 121(b), the Majority Leader of the Senate, or the Majority Leader’s designee, shall introduce any proposed legislative language submitted by the Commission under section 121(b)(2)(C) in the Senate (hereafter in this section referred to as a Commission bill).

(2)

Committee consideration

(A)

Referral

A Commission bill introduced in the Senate shall be referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration of the Senate.

(B)

Reporting

Not later than 60 calendar days after the introduction of the Commission bill, the Committee on Rules and Administration shall hold a hearing on the bill and report the bill to the Senate. No amendment shall be in order to the bill in the Committee.

(C)

Discharge of committee

If the Committee on Rules and Administration has not reported a Commission bill at the end of 60 calendar days after its introduction, such committee shall be automatically discharged from further consideration of the Commission bill and it shall be placed on the appropriate calendar.

(b)

Expedited procedure

(1)

Floor consideration in the Senate

(A)

In general

Not later than 60 calendar days after the date on which a committee has reported or has been discharged from consideration of a Commission bill, the Majority Leader of the Senate, or the Majority Leader’s designee shall move to proceed to the consideration of the Commission bill. It shall also be in order for any member of the Senate to move to proceed to the consideration of the bill at any time after the conclusion of such 60-day period.

(B)

Motion to proceed

A motion to proceed to the consideration of a Commission bill is privileged in the Senate. The motion is not debatable and is not subject to a motion to postpone consideration of the Commission bill or to proceed to the consideration of other business. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion to proceed is agreed to or not agreed to shall not be in order. If the motion to proceed is agreed to, the Senate shall immediately proceed to consideration of the Commission bill without intervening motion, order, action, or other business, and the Commission bill shall remain the unfinished business of the Senate until disposed of.

(C)

Amendments, motions, and appeals

No amendment shall be in order in the Senate, and any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 5 hours to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal.

(D)

Limited debate

Consideration in the Senate of the Commission bill and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 40 hours, which shall be equally divided between, and controlled by, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader of the Senate or their designees. A motion further to limit debate on the Commission bill is in order and is not debatable. All time used for consideration of the Commission bill, including time used for quorum calls (except quorum calls immediately preceding a vote), shall come from the 40 hours of consideration.

(E)

Vote on passage

(i)

In general

The vote on passage in the Senate of the Commission bill shall occur immediately following the conclusion of the 40-hour period for consideration of the Commission bill under subparagraph (D) and a request to establish the presence of a quorum.

(ii)

Other motions not in order

A motion in the Senate to postpone consideration of the Commission bill, a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the Commission bill is not in order. A motion in the Senate to reconsider the vote by which the Commission bill is agreed to or not agreed to is not in order.

(2)

Floor consideration in the House

(A)

In general

If a Commission bill is agreed to in the Senate, the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, or the Majority Leader’s designee shall move to proceed to the consideration of the Commission bill not later than 30 days after the date the House or Representatives receives notice of such agreement. It shall also be in order for any member of the House of Representatives to move to proceed to the consideration of the bill at any time after the conclusion of such 30-day period.

(B)

Motion to proceed

A motion to proceed to the consideration of a Commission bill is privileged in the House of Representatives. The motion is not debatable and is not subject to a motion to postpone consideration of the Commission bill or to proceed to the consideration of other business. A motion to reconsider the vote by which the motion to proceed is agreed to or not agreed to shall not be in order. If the motion to proceed is agreed to, the House of Representatives shall immediately proceed to consideration of the Commission bill without intervening motion, order, action, or other business, and the Commission bill shall remain the unfinished business of the House of Representatives until disposed of.

(C)

Amendments, motions, and appeals

No amendment shall be in order in the House of Representatives, and any debatable motion or appeal is debatable for not to exceed 5 hours to be divided equally between those favoring and those opposing the motion or appeal.

(D)

Limited debate

Consideration in the House of Representatives of the Commission bill and on all debatable motions and appeals in connection therewith, shall be limited to not more than 40 hours, which shall be equally divided between, and controlled by, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives or their designees. A motion further to limit debate on the Commission bill is in order and is not debatable. All time used for consideration of the Commission bill, including time used for quorum calls (except quorum calls immediately preceding a vote), shall come from the 40 hours of consideration.

(E)

Vote on passage

(i)

In general

The vote on passage in the House of Representatives of the Commission bill shall occur immediately following the conclusion of the 40-hour period for consideration of the Commission bill under subparagraph (D) and a request to establish the presence of a quorum.

(ii)

Other motions not in order

A motion in the House of Representatives to postpone consideration of the Commission bill, a motion to proceed to the consideration of other business, or a motion to recommit the Commission bill is not in order. A motion in the House of Representatives to reconsider the vote by which the Commission bill is agreed to or not agreed to is not in order.

(c)

Rules of Senate and House of Representatives

This section is enacted by Congress—

(1)

as an exercise of the rulemaking power of the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, and as such it is deemed a part of the rules of each House, respectively, but applicable only with respect to the procedure to be followed in that House in the case of a Commission bill, and it supersedes other rules only to the extent that it is inconsistent with such rules, and

(2)

with full recognition of the constitutional right of either House to change the rules (so far as relating to the procedure of that House) at any time, in the same manner, and to the same extent as in the case of any other rule of that House.

II

Voter information

201.

Broadcasts relating to candidates

(a)

Lowest unit charge; national committees

Section 315(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 315(b)) is amended—

(1)

by striking to such office in paragraph (1) and inserting to such office, or by a national committee of a political party on behalf of such candidate in connection with such campaign,; and

(2)

by inserting for pre-emptible use thereof after station in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1).

(b)

Broadcast rates

Section 315(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 315(b)), as amended by subsection (a), is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)(A), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting paragraphs (2) and (3); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(3)

Participating candidates

In the case of a participating candidate (as defined under section 501(10) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971), the charges made for the use any broadcasting station for a television broadcast shall not exceed 80 percent of the lowest charge described in paragraph (1)(A) during—

(A)

the 45 days preceding the date of a primary or primary runoff election in which the candidate is opposed; and

(B)

the 60 days preceding the date of a general or special election in which the candidate is opposed.

(4)

Rate cards

A licensee shall provide to a candidate for Senate a rate card that discloses—

(A)

the rate charged under this subsection; and

(B)

the method that the licensee uses to determine the rate charged under this subsection.

.

(c)

Preemption; audits

Section 315 of such Act (47 U.S.C. 315) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subsections (f) and (g) as subsections (e) and (f), respectively and moving them to follow the existing subsection (e);

(2)

by redesignating the existing subsection (e) as subsection (c); and

(3)

by inserting after subsection (c) (as redesignated by paragraph (2)) the following:

(d)

Preemption

(1)

In general

Except as provided in paragraph (2), and notwithstanding the requirements of subsection (b)(1)(A), a licensee shall not preempt the use of a broadcasting station by a legally qualified candidate for Senate who has purchased and paid for such use.

(2)

Circumstances beyond control of licensee

If a program to be broadcast by a broadcasting station is preempted because of circumstances beyond the control of the station, any candidate or party advertising spot scheduled to be broadcast during that program shall be treated in the same fashion as a comparable commercial advertising spot.

(e)

Audits

During the 45-day period preceding a primary election and the 60-day period preceding a general election, the Commission shall conduct such audits as it deems necessary to ensure that each broadcaster to which this section applies is allocating television broadcast advertising time in accordance with this section and section 312.

.

(d)

Revocation of license for failure To permit access

Section 312(a)(7) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 312(a)(7)) is amended—

(1)

by striking or repeated;

(2)

by inserting or cable system after broadcasting station; and

(3)

by striking his candidacy and inserting the candidacy of the candidate, under the same terms, conditions, and business practices as apply to the most favored advertiser of the licensee.

(e)

Stylistic amendments

Section 315 of such Act (47 U.S.C. 315) is amended—

(1)

by striking the in subsection (f)(1), as redesignated by subsection (b)(1), and inserting Broadcasting station.—;

(2)

by striking the in subsection (f)(2), as redesignated by subsection (b)(1), and inserting Licensee; station licensee.—; and

(3)

by inserting Regulations.— in subsection (g), as redesignated by subsection (b)(1), before The Commission.

202.

Political advertisement vouchers for participating candidates

(a)

In general

Title III of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 315 the following:

315A.

Political advertisement voucher program

(a)

In general

The Commission shall establish and administer a voucher program for the purchase of airtime on broadcasting stations for political advertisements in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(b)

Candidates

The Commission shall only disburse vouchers under the program established under subsection (a) to individuals who meet the following requirements:

(1)

Qualification

The individual is certified by the Federal Election Commission as a participating candidate (as defined under section 501(10) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) with respect to a general election for Federal office under section 508 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

(2)

Agreement

The individual has agreed in writing—

(A)

to keep and furnish to the Federal Election Commission such records, books, and other information as it may require; and

(B)

to repay to the Federal Communications Commission, if the Federal Election Commission revokes the certification of the individual as a participating candidate (as so defined), an amount equal to the dollar value of vouchers which were received from the Commission and used by the candidate.

(c)

Amounts

The Commission shall disburse vouchers to each candidate certified under subsection (b) in an aggregate amount equal to $100,000 multiplied by the number of congressional districts in the State with respect to which such candidate is running for office.

(d)

Use

(1)

Exclusive use

Vouchers disbursed by the Commission under this section may be used only for the purchase of broadcast airtime for political advertisements relating to a general election for the office of Senate by the participating candidate to which the vouchers were disbursed, except that—

(A)

a candidate may exchange vouchers with a political party under paragraph (2); and

(B)

a political party may use vouchers only to purchase broadcast airtime for political advertisements for generic party advertising, to support candidates for State or local office in a general election, or to support participating candidates of the party in a general election for Federal office, but only if it discloses the value of the voucher used as an expenditure under section 315(d) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441(d)).

(2)

Exchange with political party committee

(A)

In general

An individual who receives a voucher under this section may transfer the right to use all or a portion of the value of the voucher to a committee of the political party of which the individual is a candidate in exchange for money in an amount equal to the cash value of the voucher or portion exchanged.

(B)

Continuation of candidate obligations

The transfer of a voucher, in whole or in part, to a political party committee under this paragraph does not release the candidate from any obligation under the agreement made under subsection (b)(2) or otherwise modify that agreement or its application to that candidate.

(C)

Party committee obligations

Any political party committee to which a voucher or portion thereof is transferred under subparagraph (A)—

(i)

shall account fully, in accordance with such requirements as the Commission may establish, for the receipt of the voucher; and

(ii)

may not use the transferred voucher or portion thereof for any purpose other than a purpose described in paragraph (1)(B).

(D)

Voucher as a contribution under FECA

If a candidate transfers a voucher or any portion thereof to a political party committee under subparagraph (A)—

(i)

the value of the voucher or portion thereof transferred shall be treated as a contribution from the candidate to the committee, and from the committee to the candidate, for purposes of sections 302 and 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 432 and 434);

(ii)

the committee may, in exchange, provide to the candidate only funds subject to the prohibitions, limitations, and reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.); and

(iii)

the amount, if identified as a voucher exchange shall not be considered a contribution for the purposes of sections 315 or 506 of that Act.

(e)

Value; acceptance; redemption

(1)

Voucher

Each voucher disbursed by the Commission under this section shall have a value in dollars, redeemable upon presentation to the Commission, together with such documentation and other information as the Commission may require, for the purchase of broadcast airtime for political advertisements in accordance with this section.

(2)

Acceptance

A broadcasting station shall accept vouchers in payment for the purchase of broadcast airtime for political advertisements in accordance with this section.

(3)

Redemption

The Commission shall redeem vouchers accepted by broadcasting stations under paragraph (2) upon presentation, subject to such documentation, verification, accounting, and application requirements as the Commission may impose to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the voucher redemption system. The Commission shall use amounts in the Political Advertising Voucher Account established under subsection (f) to redeem vouchers presented under this subsection.

(4)

Expiration

(A)

Candidates

A voucher may only be used to pay for broadcast airtime for political advertisements to be broadcast before midnight on the day before the date of the Federal election in connection with which it was issued and shall be null and void for any other use or purpose.

(B)

Exception for political party committees

A voucher held by a political party committee may be used to pay for broadcast airtime for political advertisements to be broadcast before midnight on December 31st of the odd-numbered year following the year in which the voucher was issued by the Commission.

(5)

Voucher as expenditure under feca

(A)

In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), for purposes of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.), the use of a voucher to purchase broadcast airtime constitutes an expenditure as defined in section 301(9)(A) of that Act (2 U.S.C. 431(9)(A)).

(B)

Participating candidates

The use of a voucher to purchase broadcast airtime by a participating candidate shall not constitute an expenditure for purposes of section 506 of such Act.

(f)

Political Advertising Voucher Account

(1)

In general

The Commission shall establish an account to be known as the Political Advertising Voucher Account, which shall be credited with commercial television and radio spectrum use fees assessed under this subsection, together with any amounts repaid or otherwise reimbursed under this section or section 508(b)(2)(B) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

(2)

Spectrum use fee

(A)

In general

The Commission shall assess, and collect annually, from each broadcast station, a spectrum use fee in an amount equal to 2 percent of each broadcasting station’s gross advertising revenues for such year.

(B)

Availability

(i)

In general

Any amount assessed and collected under this paragraph shall be used by the Commission as an offsetting collection for the purposes of making disbursements under this section, except that—

(I)

the salaries and expenses account of the Commission shall be credited with such sums as are necessary from those amounts for the costs of developing and implementing the program established by this section; and

(II)

the Commission may reimburse the Federal Election Commission for any expenses incurred by the Commission under this section.

(ii)

Deposit of excess fees into Senate Fair Elections Fund

If the amount assessed and collected under this paragraph for years in any election period exceeds the amount necessary for making disbursements under this section for such election period, the Commission shall deposit such excess in the Senate Fair Elections Fund.

(C)

Fee does not apply to public broadcasting stations

Subparagraph (A) does not apply to a public telecommunications entity (as defined in section 397(12) of this Act).

(3)

Administrative provisions

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, section 9 of this Act applies to the assessment and collection of fees under this subsection to the same extent as if those fees were regulatory fees imposed under section 9.

(g)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Broadcasting station

The term broadcasting station has the meaning given that term by section 315(f)(1) of this Act.

(2)

Federal election

The term Federal election means any regularly-scheduled, primary, runoff, or special election held to nominate or elect a candidate to Federal office.

(3)

Federal office

The term Federal office has the meaning given that term by section 301(3) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(3)).

(4)

Political party

The term political party means a major party or a minor party as defined in section 9002(3) or (4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (26 U.S.C. 9002(3) or (4)).

(5)

Other terms

Except as otherwise provided in this section, any term used in this section that is defined in section 301 or 501 of the Federal Election Campaign of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431) has the meaning given that term by either such section of that Act.

(h)

Regulations

The Commission shall prescribe such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. In developing the regulations, the Commission shall consult with the Federal Election Commission.

.

203.

FCC to prescribe standardized form for reporting candidate campaign ads

(a)

In general

Within 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications Commission shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to establish a standardized form to be used by broadcasting stations, as defined in section 315(f)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 315(f)(1)), to record and report the purchase of advertising time by or on behalf of a candidate for nomination for election, or for election, to Federal elective office.

(b)

Contents

The form prescribed by the Commission under subsection (a) shall require, broadcasting stations to report, at a minimum—

(1)

the station call letters and mailing address;

(2)

the name and telephone number of the station’s sales manager (or individual with responsibility for advertising sales);

(3)

the name of the candidate who purchased the advertising time, or on whose behalf the advertising time was purchased, and the Federal elective office for which he or she is a candidate;

(4)

the name, mailing address, and telephone number of the person responsible for purchasing broadcast political advertising for the candidate;

(5)

notation as to whether the purchase agreement for which the information is being reported is a draft or final version; and

(6)

the following information about the advertisement:

(A)

The date and time of the broadcast.

(B)

The program in which the advertisement was broadcast.

(C)

The length of the broadcast airtime.

(c)

Internet access

In its rulemaking under subsection (a), the Commission shall require any broadcasting station required to file a report under this section that maintains an Internet website to make available a link to such reports on that website.

204.

Limit on Congressional use of the franking privilege

(a)

In general

Section 3210(a)(6) of title 39, United States Code, is amended by striking subparagraph (A) and inserting the following:

(A)
(i)

Except as provided in clause (ii), Member of Congress or a Congressional Committee or Subcommittee of which such Member is Chairman or Ranking Member shall not mail any mass mailing as franked mail during the period which begins 90 days before date of the primary election and ends on the date of the general election with respect to any Federal office which such Member holds, unless the Member has made a public announcement that the Member will not be a candidate for reelection to such office in that year.

(ii)

A Member of Congress or a Congressional Committee or Subcommittee of which such Member is Chairman or Ranking Member may mail a mass mailing as franked mail if—

(I)

the purpose of the mailing is to communicate information about a public meeting; and

(II)

the content of the mailed matter includes only the name of the Member, Committee, or Subcommittee, as appropriate, and the date, time, and place of the public meeting.

.

(b)

Conforming amendments

(1)

Section 3210(a)(6) of title 39, United States Code, is amended by striking subparagraph (B) and by redesignating subparagraphs (C) through (F) as subparagraphs (B) through (E), respectively.

(2)

Section 3210(a)(6)(E) of title 39, United States Code, as redesignated by paragraph (1), is amended by striking subparagraphs (A) and (C) and inserting subparagraphs (A) and (B).

III

Responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission

301.

Petition for certiorari

Section 307(a)(6) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 437d(a)(6)) is amended by inserting (including a proceeding before the Supreme Court on certiorari) after appeal.

302.

Filing by Senate candidates with Commission

Section 302(g) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 432(g)) is amended to read as follows:

(g)

Filing with the commission

All designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under this Act shall be filed with the Commission.

.

303.

Electronic filing of FEC reports

Section 304(a)(11) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 434(a)(11)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A), by striking under this Act— and all that follows and inserting under this Act shall be required to maintain and file such designation, statement, or report in electronic form accessible by computers.;

(2)

in subparagraph (B), by striking 48 hours and all that follows through filed electronically) and inserting 24 hours; and

(3)

by striking subparagraph (D).

IV

Miscellaneous provisions

401.

Severability

If any provision of this Act or amendment made by this Act, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act and amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any person or circumstance, shall not be affected by the holding.

402.

Review of constitutional issues

An appeal may be taken directly to the Supreme Court of the United States from any final judgment, decree, or order issued by any court ruling on the constitutionality of any provision of this Act or amendment made by this Act.

403.

Effective date

Except as otherwise provided for in this Act, this Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on January 1, 2008.