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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jun 10, 2015.
Fair Elections Now Act
Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) with respect to:
eligibility and qualifying contribution requirements and benefits of fair elections financing of Senate election campaigns, establishment of a Fair Elections Fund, eligibility for Fund allocations, contribution and expenditure requirements, a public debate requirement, certification of whether or not a federal election candidate is a participating candidate, benefits for participating candidates, 600% matching payments to candidates for certain small dollar contributions, political advertising vouchers, establishment of a Fair Elections Oversight Board, civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements, prohibition of joint fundraising committees with any political committee other than a candidate's authorized committee, and an exception to a specified limitation on coordinated expenditures by political party committees with participating candidates for any expenditure from a qualified political party-participating candidate coordinated expenditure fund. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to: (1) prohibit the preemption of the use of a broadcasting station by a legally qualified Senate candidate who has purchased and paid for such use, (2) revise Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authority to revoke licenses for broadcasting stations who fail to provide access to Senate candidates, and (3) revise the formula for determining reduced broadcast rates for participating candidates in certain circumstances.
Directs the FCC to initiate a rulemaking proceeding to establish a standardized form to be used by broadcasting stations 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.
Amends FECA to: (1) empower the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to appeal a civil action; (2) require all designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA to be filed directly with the FEC, and in computer-accessible electronic form; and (3) reduce from 48 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 allow a refundable tax credit in the amount of 50% of the qualified My Voice Federal Senate campaign contributions paid or incurred by the taxpayer during the taxable year. Limits such credit to a maximum $50 (twice such amount in the case of a joint return). Prohibits any such credit to any taxpayer who made aggregate contributions in excess of $300 during the taxable year to any single federal Senate candidate or to any political committee established and maintained by a national party.
Imposes an excise tax on any payment made pursuant to a U.S. government contract to any person that is not a state or local government, a foreign nation, or a tax-exempt organization and that has contracts with the U.S. government in excess of $10 million. Sets the rate of such tax imposed on any payment to a qualified person under any such contract at 0.50% of the amount paid and limits the aggregate annual amount of tax so imposed for any calendar year to not more than $500,000.
Expresses the sense of the Senate that the tax revenues raised by this Act should be used for the financing of a Fair Elections Fund and the public financing of Senate elections.