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H.R. 6426 (112th): Grassroots Democracy Act of 2012

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.

9/14/2012--Introduced. Grassroots Democracy Act of 2012 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a refundable credit of up to $25 ($50 in the case of a joint return), adjusted for inflation, for qualified grassroots federal congressional campaign contributions paid by the taxpayer during the taxable year.

Directs the Grassroots Democracy Advisory Commission (GDAC, established by this Act) to establish a pilot program under which a qualified individual shall be provided with a "Grassroots Democracy Coupon" during the election cycle, which will be assigned a routing number and, at the individual's option, provided in either paper or electronic form. Authorizes the individual to: (1) submit the Coupon, using the routing number, in either electronic or paper form to qualified federal election candidates, and (2) allocate portions of the Coupon's value in $5 increments to a candidate (up to a maximum of $50 per candidate). Requires the GDAC to pay the candidate who transmits the Coupon to it the portion of the Coupon's value that the individual allocated to the candidate, which shall be considered a contribution under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA).

Amends FECA with respect to: (1) benefits for participating congressional candidates; (2) Federal Election Commission (FEC) payments to such candidates; (3) candidate use of payments; (4) qualified grassroots contribution, expenditure, and fundraising requirements; (5) certification of participating congressional candidates; (6) campaign administration; (7) prevention of the unnecessary spending of public funds; (8) remittal to the Grassroots Democracy Fund of unspent funds after an election; (9) eligibility of participating candidates for payments; (10) establishment of the Grassroots Democracy Fund in the Treasury and of a Grassroots Democracy Advisory Commission in the FEC; and (11) civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements.

Prohibits use of contributions by a participating candidate for any purposes other than an election campaign.

Revises bundler disclosure requirements to repeal a specified exception and so require disclosure of persons who provided bundled contributions to the reporting committee.

Extends from 60 days before a general, special, or runoff election to 120 days before such an election the period for treatment of communications as electioneering communications.

Creates user fees, payable to the FEC, for candidate-designated political committees and bundlers.

Amends FECA to empower the FEC to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to appeal a civil action to enforce the Act.

Requires all political committee designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA to be filed: (1) directly with the FEC, and (2) in electronic form accessible by computers. Reduces from 48 hours to 24 hours after their receipt the deadline for the FEC to make designations, statements, reports, or notifications available to the public in the FEC office and on the Internet.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to repeal: (1) the alternative tax on political organizations that have net capital gains for the taxable year; and (2) the treatment as tax-exempt functions of proceeds from a political fundraising or entertainment event, from the sale of political campaign materials not received in the ordinary course of trade or business, or from any bingo game.

Revises the formula limiting the amount included in the gross income of a tax-exempt organization that expends funds for an exempt function of a political committee.

Repeals the application of graduated tax rates for principal campaign committees (thus applying the highest rates to such committees).

Allows an individual to designate a specified portion of any overpayment of tax as a contribution to the Grassroots Democracy Fund.

Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to set a station's lowest unit price for preemptible use as the charge for a broadcast by the national committee of a political party for an affiliated candidate.

Authorizes the FEC to revoke a broadcast station license or construction permit only for at least three willful failures to allow reasonable access to, or to permit purchase of reasonable amounts of time for the use of, a broadcasting station by a legally qualified candidate for federal office.