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S. 3065 (94th): Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments

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

4/28/1976--Conference report filed in House. (Conference report filed in House, H. Rept. 94-1057) Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments - =Title I: Amendments to Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971= - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide that six members of the Federal Election Commission be appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, not more than three of whom shall be affiliated with the same political party. Makes the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives ex officio members of the Commission. Makes it the purpose of the Commission to seek to obtain compliance with the provisions of the the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 concerning the Presidential Campaign Fund and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account. Grants the Commission exclusive and primary jurisdiction with respect to the civil enforcement of such provisions. States that the authority or function of Congress will not be limited or diminished by this Act. Requires that an affirmative vote of four members of the Commission be taken before any guidelines for compliance with election laws are established. States that members serving on the Federal Election Commission on the date of the enactment of this Act may continue to serve as such members until a majority of the members of the Commission are appointed and qualified under this Act. Provides that until a majority of the members of the Commission are appointed and qualified under the amendments made by this Act, members serving on such Commission on the date of enactment of this Act may exercise only such powers and functions as are consistent with the determinations of the Supreme Court of the United States in Buckley et al. against Valeo, Secretary of the United States Senate, et al. Provides that all orders, determinations, rules, advisory opinions and opinions of counsel issued or granted by the Federal Election Commission before its reconstitution shall continue in effect to the same extent as if such transfer had not occurred. Exempts from the definition of "contribution" under such Act, payment for personal services of accounting or legal work for a national committee or for a candidate to assure compliance with this Act or the Internal Revenue Code. Exempts payment for personal services for a loan by a National or State bank. Exempts from the definition of "expenditure" the costs incurred by a membership organization, directly attributable to a communication expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate if those costs exceed $2,000 per election; and partisan activities of National or State party committees to encourage people to register and to vote; and exempts from such definition costs up to 20 percent of a candidate's expenditure limitations incurred in the solicitation of contributions. Requires treasurers of political committees to keep detailed accounts of the identification of every person making a contribution in excess of $100. Provides that in any year in which a candidate is not on the ballot, such candidate and his authorized committee shall only be required to file a report with the Commission not later than the tenth day following the close of any calendar quarter in which aggregate contributions and expenditures, taken together, were in excess of $5,000. Requires each treasurer of a political committee authorized by the candidate to raise contributions or make expenditures, other than the candidate's principal campaign committee, to file reports with the candidate's principal campaign committeee. Requires a political committee, other than an authorized committee, with expenditures in excess of $100 to report the identification of each person to whom expenditures have been made, the amount, date, and purpose of each expenditure, and the name and address of, and office sought by, each candidate on whose behalf such expenditure was made, and to certify whether such expenditures were made in cooperation with any candidate or his authorized committee. Provides that the best efforts of committee treasurers and candidates to obtain and submit such information shall be deemed compliance. Requires every person other than political committees or candidates who makes expenditures or contributions expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate in an aggregate amount in excess of $100 within a calendar year to file a statement with the Commission. Requires persons making contributions in response to solicitations, which when combined with other contributions exceed $100, to report to the recipient. Requires such reports to certify whether such expenditures were made in cooperation with any candidate or his authorized committee. Directs the Commission to prepare indices of expenditures on a candidate-by-candidate, pre-election basis. Provides that the power of the Commission to initiate civil actions shall be the sole remedy for enforcing such Act. States that upon request to the Commission by any individual holding Federal office, any political committee, or the national committee of any political party, the Commission shall render an advisory opinion, in writing, within a reasonable time with respect to whether any specific transaction or activity by such individual, candidate, or political committee would constitute a violation of this Act or of the Internal Revenue Code. Requires that within 30 days of the issuance of an advisory opinion of general applicability, the Commission shall transmit proposed regulations on such matter to the Congress. Prohibits the Commission from investigating any complaint which is not in writing, signed and sworn to by the person filing the complaint, and notorized. Requires the Commission to afford a reasonable opportunity for any person notified of an apparent violation to demonstrate that no action should be taken against him. Provides that upon the Commission's determination that a violation of this Act or of the Internal Revenue Code relating to payments to eligible candidates has occurred or is about to occur, it shall endeavor to reach a conciliation agreement with the person involved, which shall be a bar to further action of any kind by the Commission. Permits the Commission, failing any conciliation agreement, to institute a civil action for relief, including an injunction or a $5,000 penalty, or if greater, a penalty in the amount of the contribution or expenditure involved. Allows the Commission: (1) upon determination that there is probable cause to believe that a knowing or a willful violation has occurred or is about to occur, to refer such apparent violation to the Attorney General of the United States; and (2) upon determination that there is clear and convincing proof of such a violation, to require that such person involved in a conciliation agreement pay a civil penalty, which does not exceed the greater of $10,000 or 200 percent of the contribution or expenditure involved. Empowers the Commission to institute a civil action for relief if it believes that there has been such a violation or a violation of any of the terms of a conciliation agreement. Prescribes civil penalties of not more than the greater of $10,000 or an amount equal to 200 percent of the contribution or expenditure involved in such violations, and not less than $5,000 or the amount of the contribution. Allows an aggrieved party by an order of the Commission dismissing a complaint filed by such a party or by a failure of the Commission to act on such complaint within 90 days to file a petition with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Sets time limits for the filing of such petitions. Permits further appeal to the court of appeals and the Supreme Court. States that if the Commission determines after investigation that any person has violated an order of the court, it may petition the court for an order to adjudicate that person in civil contempt or criminal contempt if it believes the violation to be knowing and willful. Provides that cases referred to the Attorney General shall be reported by him to the Commission within 60 days and every 30 days thereafter. Extends the duties of the Commission to include the compilation of a cumulative index of reports and statements filed with it by political committees supporting more than one candidate. Changes House rules concerning consideration of resolutions where a House committee reports any resolution relating to a rule or regulation proposed by the Commission. Prohibits contributions to any candidate or his political committee which exceed $1,000, to any political committee of a political party in excess of $20,000, or to any other political committee in excess of $5,000 for election for Federal office in any year. Sets forth limitations on contributions to multicandidate political committees. Prohibits any individual from making a contribution over $25,000 in any year. States that for purposes of such limitations all contributions made by political committees established financed, maintained, or controlled by any person or persons, inncluding any parent, subsidiary, branch, division, department, affiliate, or local unit of such person, or by any group of persons, shall be considered to have been made by a single political committee, except that nothing in such provision shall limit transfers between political committees of funds raised through joint fund-raising efforts; or that contributions made by committees established by National or State committees shall not be deemed made from a single committee. Applies the contribution limitations of this Act separately for each election, except that all elections in any year for President shall be considered one election. Stipulates that contributions to a named candidate made to any political committee authorized by such candidate to accept contributions on his behalf shall be considered to be contributions made to such candidate; that expenditures made by any person in cooperation with a candidate, his authorized political committees, or their agents, shall be considered to be a contribution to such candidate; and that the financing by any person of the dissemination, distribution or republication of any broadcast or any written, graphic, or other form of campaign materials prepared by the candidate, his campaign committees, or their authorized agents shall be considered to be an expenditure for purposes of this Act. Provides that all contributions to a candidate, directly or indirectly, through intermediaries or conduits, shall be treated as contributions from such person to such candidate. Sets the expenditure limitations for Presidential candidates of: (1) $10,000,000 for a candidate seeking nomination for election to the office of President; and (2) $20,000,000 for a candidate seeking election to the office of President. States that any candidate seeking nomination for President shall not make expenditures in any one State which exceed the greater of sixteen cents multiplied by the voting age population or $200,000. Provides for an inflation increase to be added to the expenditures limitations on an annual basis. Restricts the spending of a national committee of a political party to: (1) two cents multiplied by the voting age population of the United States for a candidate for the Presidency; (2) two cents multiplied by the voting age population of the State or $20,000 for a candidate for the Senate or to the House of Representatives where that State is entitled to only one Representatives; and (3) $10,000 for a candidate to the office of Representative, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner in any other State. Makes these restrictions as to State and Congressional elections applicable to any State committee of a political party. Prohibits any candidate or political committee from knowingly accepting any contribution or making any expenditure in violation of the provisions of this Act. Permits the Democractic and Republican Senatorial Campaign Committees or the party national committees to contribute $17,500 in any year toward a Senatorial candidate's nomination or election. Makes it illegal for any national bank or any corporation organized by authority of any law of Congress, to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with any primary or general election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office. Prohibits corporations or labor organizations from making contributions or expenditures in connection with Presidential or Congressional elections, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates. Defines, for such purposes, contribution or expenditure to include any direct or indirect payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money, or any services, or anything of value to any candidate, campaign committee, or political party or organization. Makes it unlawful for a fund to make a contribution or expenditure by utilizing money or anything of value secured by physical force, job discrimination, financial reprisals, or for any person soliciting an employee for a contribution to such a fund to fail to inform such employee, at the time of such solicitation of his right to refuse to so contribute without any reprisal. Permits a corporation, a labor organization or a separate segregated fund established by such corporation or such labor organization, to make two written solicitations for contributions during the calendar year from any stockholder, officer, or employee of a corporation or the families of such persons. Requires that such a solicitation may be made only by mail addressed to the stockholder, officer, or employee at his residence, and shall be so designed that such solicitation cannot determine who makes a contribution of $50 or less and who does not. Permits a membership organization, cooperative, or corporation without capital stock, or a separate segregated fund established by such an organization to solicit contributions to such a fund from members. Permits a trade association or a separate segregated fund established by a trade association to solicit contributions from the stockholders and executive or administrative personnel of the member corporations of such trade association and the families of such stockholders or personnel to the extent that such solicitation of such stockholders and personnel, and their families, has been separately and specifically approved by the member corporation involved. Requires that any corporation or its affiliates that utilizes a method of soliciting voluntary contributions or facilitating the making of voluntary contributions, shall make available, on written request and at cost, that method, to a labor organization representing any members working for that corporation or its affiliates. Prohibits specified Government contractors from directly or indirectly making contributions or promises thereof to any political party, committee, or candidate for public office or to any person for any political use. Makes it unlawful to solicit any contribtuions from such Government contractors. Requires a candidate or his authorized committee or their agents to file a statement with the Federal Election Commission: (1) whenever he authorizes a communication advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate; and (2) whenever such communication is not authorized, such communication is required to state the name of the person that made or financed the expenditure for the communication. Prohibits contributions from any foreign nationals. Prohibits any person from making a contribution in the name of another person or from knowingly accepting a contribution made by one person in the name of another. Restricts to $100 the amount of any contribution of U.S. or foreign currency. Makes it unlawful for any person who is a candidate for Federal office or an employee or agent of such candidate to fraudulently misrepresent himself or any committee or organization under his control as speaking or writing or otherwise acting for or on behalf of any other candidate or political party or employee or agent thereof on a matter which is damaging to such other candidate or political party or employee or agent. Limits the acceptance of honorariums by employees of any of the Federal branches to $2,000 per occasion and $25,000 per year. Provides that any person who knowingly and willfully commits a violation of any provision or provisions of this Act which involves the making, receiving, or reporting of any contribution or expenditure having a value in the aggregate of $1,000 or more during a calendar year shall be fined in an amount which does not exceed the greater of $25,000 or 300 percent of the amount of any contribution or expenditure involved in such violation, imprisoned for not more than one year, or both. Sets forth additional greater penalties for other specified violations. Permits a defendant in a criminal action under this Act to introduce as evidence of his lack of knowledge of or intent to commit the offense for which the action was brought a conciliation agreement entered into between the defendant and the Commission. Authorizes appropriations for the Federal Election Commission for fiscal years 1976-1977. =Title II: Amendments to Title 18, United States Code= - Makes technical and conforming amendments to existing law. Repeals 18 U.S.C. 608, 610-617 =Title III: Amendments to the Internal Revenue Code of 1954= - Requires that a candidate shall certify to the Federal Election Commission that such candidate did not knowingly make expenditures from his personal funds or from those of his immedaite family for election to the office of President in excess of, in the aggregate, $50,000, in order to be eligible to received payment from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. States that expenditures made by an individual after January 29, 1976, and before enactment of this Act shall not be taken into account in applying the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code relating to payments to candidates. Provides that, in any case in which the Secretary of the Treasury determines that there are not sufficient moneys in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund to make such payments, moneys shall not be made available from any other source for the purpose of making payments. Permits Congress to disapprove in whole or in part proposed rules and regulations of the Commission. Terminates payments to Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates who cease to campaign actively in more than one State; and requires them to pay back the Secretary any amounts not used for qualified campaign expenses. Prohibits payments to candidates, under the Internal Revenue Code, more than 30 days after the date of the second consecutive primary election in which such candidates received less than ten percent of the vote. Reinstates such candidates for payments if they receive 20 percent of the vote in a primary election thereafter.