This week for our campaign finance update we’re taking a break from the Citizens United coverage. The FEC has adopted new rules for non-federal fundraising; these rules are a final implementation of requirements from 2002’s Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA / McCain-Feingold). The new rules were announced April 29.
BCRA states that federal candidates cannot solicit, receive, or spend “soft money.” The FEC had previously concluded based on the statute’s language that federal candidates may attend, be a featured guest, or speak at a state/local party fundraising event, without restriction on their actions at such an event; some argued that this left the door open for candidates and officeholders to solicit soft money at such events.
In several court cases, the FEC’s interpretation of the regulation was challenged; the courts held that the FEC had failed to adequately explain and justify the rule, and the rule was invalidated.
The new rule from the FEC repeals the provision that permitted federal candidates to speak without restrictions at non-federal fundraising events. The new rule makes clear that although the federal candidate or officeholder may attend such events, he or she may not solicit soft money contributions.
Oh, and I know I said no Citizens United-related news today, but I thought I should bring this post from Eric Brown’s Political Activity Law to your attention: DISCLOSE Act’s new requirements for lobbyist disclosure. Yes, there is something in that bill for everyone.