Summary: S.2595 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.2595. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (05/09/1990)

Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform Act of 1990 - Title I: Reduction of Special Interest Influence - Subtitle A: Elimination of Political Action Committees from Federal Election Activities - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to: (1) revise the definition of a "political committee" to delete references to any separate segregated fund and any committee, club, association, or group which receives contributions or makes expenditures annually totaling over $1,000 and to include any national, State, or district committee of a political party, including any subordinate committee thereof, and any committee jointly established by such committees or by any local committee as defined under current law for joint fundraising activities; (2) repeal provisions excluding nonpartisan registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns and the establishment of, and solicitation of contributions for, a separate segregated fund from the definition of a "contribution or expenditure" by a national bank, corporation, or labor organization; and (3) prohibit making, soliciting, or receiving contributions or making expenditures to influence a Federal election by any person other than an individual or a political committee. Specifies that if such prohibition is not in effect: (1) it and the other amendments made by this Act to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 regarding such definitions shall not be in effect and prior law will be reinstated; and (2) political action committees not connected to corporations, labor organizations, or trade associations will be subject to a $1,000 contribution limit.

Deems any political committee which is established, financed, maintained, or controlled by any candidate or Federal officeholder to be an authorized committee of such candidate or officeholder for purposes of limitations on contributions to a candidate's committees.

Subtitle B: Ban on Soft Money in Federal Elections - Bans the use of soft money (any amount raised or contributed outside of source restrictions, contribution limits, and disclosure requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971) to influence any Federal election.

Requires the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to issue regulations providing a method for allocating the contributions and expenditures for any mixed activity between Federal and non-Federal accounts. Sets forth guidelines for such allocation which include the establishment of minimum percentages of Federal funds for activities designed to contact voters in connection with elections for Federal and non-Federal office.

Requires each treasurer of a political committee to keep an account of, and file reports disclosing, each account maintained by such committee.

Includes political committees among those entities eligible to receive contributions or expenditures by national banks, corporations, or labor organizations. Permits a labor organization, upon reinstatement of prior law regarding certain political activities not considered to be contributions or expenditures, to make political communications and establish and solicit contributions for a separate segregated political fund if it: (1) provides the employees it represents with written notification of specified information at least once annually; (2) provides such employees with an annual examination by an independent certified public accountant of its financial statements which verify its costs for representation services; and (3) maintains certain procedures regarding the cost of such representation. Requires a labor organization which does not follow such requirements to finance those communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of any clearly identified candidate for elective public office as well as the other political activities not considered to be contributions or expenditures with funds legally collected under this Act for its separate segregated fund.

Imposes Federal limits on contributions to political organizations maintained by a candidate for Federal office which are not political committees of a national, State, or local party.

Amends the Internal Revenue Code to deny tax-exempt status for an organization: (1) which devotes any of its operating budget to voter registration, get-out-the-vote campaigns, or participation in political campaign activities; (2) on whose behalf a candidate or an authorized committee thereof solicits contributions; or (3) which intervenes or participates in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for Federal office.

Subtitle C: Other Activities - Reduces from $1,000 to $500 the maximum contribution allowed to any candidate for Federal office (other than a candidate for President or Vice President) by a person residing outside the State with respect to which such candidate seeks Federal office. Maintains the current $1,000 limitation for contributions to any candidate for President or Vice President or to any candidate for Federal office by a person residing within the State with respect to which such candidate seeks Federal office. Provides for periodic indexing of such limitations according to the consumer price index.

Excludes costs of campaign materials and general research activities paid by national committees of a political party from the definition of "expenditure and contribution" under the same conditions currently provided for such payments by State or local committees of a political party.

Exempts contributions to political party committees from the $25,000 annual limit.

Prohibits: (1) any intermediary or conduit from delivering or arranging to have delivered contributions from more than two persons who are employees of the same employer or members of the same labor organization; and (2) lobbyists from acting as an intermediary or conduit with respect to a contribution to a candidate for Federal office.

Sets forth disclosure requirements for independent expenditures through broadcast communications on any radio or television station.

Provides that an expenditure is not an independent expenditure where the person making an expenditure is in coordination, consultation, or concert with a candidate.

Requires the FEC to provide a hearing within three days after receiving a complaint alleging that an independent expenditure was made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with a candidate.

Provides for expedited judicial review for any matter relating to the making of an independent expenditure.

Title II: Increase of Competition in Politics - Allows the congressional campaign committee or the senatorial campaign committee of a national political party to make contributions to a candidate for Federal office (other than President or Vice President) who does not hold Federal office which in the aggregate do not exceed the lesser of: (1) $100,000; or (2) the aggregate contributions made during the election cycle preceding the primary election by an individual who, at the time such contributions are made, is a resident of the State in which the election with respect to which such contributions are made is to be held. Prohibits such a contribution from being treated as an expenditure by a national committee, State committee, or subordinate committee of a State committee in connection with the general election campaign of a candidate for Federal office.

Prohibits a holder of Federal office from transferring any amounts received as contributions or other campaign funds to any account maintained for purposes of defraying ordinary and necessary expenses in connection with the duties of such office.

Requires a candidate, within 15 days of qualifying for a primary election ballot, to file with the FEC and each other qualifying candidate a declaration stating whether or not such candidate intends to expend for the primary and general election an amount exceeding $250,000 from: (1) personal funds; (2) family funds; and (3) personal loans incurred in connection with the campaign for election. Allows the opponents of such candidate to accept larger contribution amounts from individuals.

Requires a candidate who files a declaration of intent not to expend more than $250,000 and who subsequently does exceed such amount, to file an amended declaration within 24 hours after exceeding such amount.

Allows a candidate to repay any expenditure or personal loan incurred in connection with the candidate's election to Federal office from contributions made to such candidate or any authorized committee of such candidate. Prohibits: (1) repayment of any interest on the principal of such loan or the amount of such expenditure; and (2) repayment from any such contributions received after the general election to which the expenditure or loan relates.

Prohibits franked mass mailings by: (1) Members of Congress during the year in which they are candidates for reelection; (2) Members of, or Members-elect to, the House during the year in which they are candidates for any other public office; or (3) Members of the Senate during the year in which they are candidates for any other public office. Requires Members of Congress using franked mass mailings to register such mailings annually with the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives who shall make such mailing available for public inspection along with a description of the persons to whom the mass mailing was mailed. Amends rule XL of the Standing Rules of the Senate to prohibit the use of franked mass mail by a Senator or an individual who is a candidate for nomination to the Senate during the year in which the Senator is a candidate for public office or the individual is a candidate for the Senate.

Revises provisions with respect to congressional reapportionment and redistricting so that the number of persons in congressional districts within each State shall be as nearly equal as practicable, as determined under the most recent decennial census.

Prohibits congressional districts from being established with the intent and effect of diluting the voting strength of any persons or members of any political party. Requires district boundaries to avoid the division of counties and minimize the division of cities and other political subdivisions.

Establishes expedited Federal judicial review procedures of the redistricting process, giving Federal district courts exclusive jurisdiction.

Amends the Federal criminal code to prescribe criminal penalties to be imposed against anyone who uses any facility of, or affects, interstate or foreign commerce to deprive or defraud the inhabitants of a State or political subdivision of: (1) the honest services of a government official or employee; or (2) a fair and impartially conducted election process through the use of fraudulent ballots or voter registration forms or the filing of fraudulent campaign reports to secure the election of an official who, if elected, would have authority over the administration of funds derived from an Act of the Congress totalling $10,000 or more for a year before or after the election or offense.

Prescribes criminal penalties to be imposed against anyone who deprives or defrauds the inhabitants of the United States of the honest services of a public official.

Prescribes criminal penalties to be imposed upon any official who: (1) uses interstate commerce to deprive or defraud the inhabitants of any State or political subdivision of the right to have government affairs conducted on the basis of complete, true, and accurate information; or (2) in order to carry out or conceal any scheme or artifice to defraud, discriminates, harasses, or takes adverse action against any employee or official of the United States or any State or political subdivision. Authorizes such an adversely affected employee or official to obtain relief through a civil action, providing such person did not participate in the scheme or artifice.

Amends mail fraud provisions to prohibit the use of any facility of interstate or foreign commerce in the execution of a scheme or artifice to defraud.

Title III: Reduction of Campaign Costs - Sets forth congressional findings regarding discounts for political broadcasts. Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to: (1) limit the cost to qualified candidates of broadcasting time for pre-election political advertising to the lowest rate charged for any time in the same period; and (2) prohibit any broadcast licensee from preempting the use of any such time purchased by a qualified candidate.

Title IV: Miscellaneous Provisions - Subtitle A: Federal Election Commission Enforcement Authority - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to revise the enforcement provisions. Changes the determination the FEC must make upon receiving a complaint, before notifying the person of an alleged violation.

Authorizes the FEC to seek an injunction if: (1) it believes that there is a substantial likelihood that a violation of Federal election laws is occurring or about to occur; (2) the failure to act expeditiously will result in irreparable harm; (3) such expeditious action will not cause undue harm or prejudice to the interests of others; and (4) the public interest would be best served by such an injunction.

Reduces the period provided for the FEC to attempt informally to prevent or correct a violation of such Act from 90 to 60 days. Requires the FEC to make such an attempt for a period of no more than 15 days, if the violation occurs within 45 days of an election.

Provides greater penalties for knowing and willful violations committed within 15 days of any election.

Changes from discretionary to mandatory the requirement that the FEC, upon an affirmative vote of four of its members, institute a civil action if it is unable to correct or prevent a violation of such Act. Requires a court in such civil action to grant a specified remedy upon a showing that the person involved has committed or is about to commit a violation of such Act.

Provides a private right of action if, by a tie vote, the FEC does not vote to institute a civil action.

Requires a court to impose a specified civil penalty for a knowing and willful violation of such Act.

Expedites from 120 days to 60 days the time which an aggrieved party must wait before seeking judicial redress because the FEC dismissed, or failed to reasonably pursue, a complaint filed by such party. Allows the aggrieved party to file an action in any U.S. district court having jurisdiction. Requires that any monetary award under such action be paid to the United States. Provides for a mandatory award of attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party.

Increases the penalties for violation of the confidentiality requirement with respect to any notification or investigation made under such Act.

Removes the ceiling on the fine for any person who willfully and knowingly commits a violation of such Act which involves any contribution or expenditure aggregating $2,000 or more during a calendar year.

Directs the FEC to establish time limitations for its investigation and to publish an index of all of its investigations.

Establishes procedures for initial determinations and probable cause determinations by the FEC. Eliminates the en banc hearing requirement for constitutional questions regarding such Act.

Subtitle B: Other Provisions - Requires each treasurer of a political committee to file reports disclosing for the reporting period the terms of any settlement agreement or any security or collateral agreement entered into with respect to a loan or other debt as evidenced by a copy of such agreement filed as part of the report. Includes any gift subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money made for the purpose of drafting a clearly identified individual as a candidate for Federal office or encouraging a clearly identified individual to become a candidate for Federal office within the definition of "contribution." Requires such a contribution to be treated, with respect to the individual involved, as a contribution to a candidate, whether or not the individual becomes a candidate for purposes of limitations on contributions and expenditures.