Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (11/22/1993)


Title I: Control of Congressional Campaign Spending

Subtitle A: (Reserved)

Subtitle B: Expenditure Limitations, Contribution

Limitations, and Voter Communication Vouchers

for Eligible House of Representatives Candidates

Title II: Limitations on Political Committees and Large

Donor Contributions That May Be Accepted by House of

Representatives Candidates

Title III: Independent Expenditures

Title IV: Contributions and Expenditures by Political

Party Committees

Title V: Contributions

Title VI: Reporting Requirements

Title VII: Federal Election Commission

Title VIII: Ballot Initiative Committees

Title IX: Miscellaneous

Title X: House of Representatives Campaign Election

Funding and Related Matters

Title XI: Effective dates; Severability

House of Representatives Campaign Spending Limit and Election Reform Act of 1993 - Title I: Control of Congressional Campaign Spending - Subtitle A: (Reserved)

Subtitle B: Expenditure Limitations, Contribution Limitations, and Voter Communication Vouchers for Eligible House of Representatives Candidates - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) to limit an eligible House of Representatives candidate (candidate) to aggregate election cycle expenditures of $600,000.

Permits a candidate to spend: (1) an additional $200,000 in a runoff election; (2) $600,000 in a special election; and (3) an additional $200,000 in a closely contested primary.

Waives such limits for a candidate whose opponent is not participating in such spending limitations and receives contributions or makes expenditures in excess of 25 percent of election cycle limits.

Exempts from such limits legal, tax, accounting, and fund raising costs.

Sets forth graduated civil penalties for different levels of excess expenditures.

Limits a candidate's personal campaign contributions in an election cycle to $50,000. Waives such limits in the case of a nonparticipating opponent who exceeds such limits.

States that the Federal Election Commission (Commission) shall determine a candidate's eligibility to participate in the voluntary program of spending and contribution limits established by this Act.

Entitles an eligible candidate to up to $200,000 in voter communication vouchers.

Sets forth eligibility requirements, including: (1) having raised at least ten percent of contributions from individual contributions; and (2) general election ballot qualification of both the candidate and his or her opponent.

Permits voucher use to purchase: (1) broadcast time; (2) print advertisements; (3) voter contact campaign materials; and (4) postage.

Increases voucher amounts available to a candidate who has at least $10,000 in independent expenditures made against him or her or in favor of another candidate.

Prohibits conversion of voucher funds for personal or family use.

Requires a candidate's television commercials to permit closed captioning.

Requires the Commission to examine and audit for FECA compliance five percent of all House candidates.

Provides for judicial review of Commission actions and requires Commission reports to the House.

(Sec. 122) Provides for the registration of eligible candidates.

Title II: Limitations on Political Committees and Large Donor Contributions That May Be Accepted by House of Representatives Candidates - Amends FECA to limit a candidate to accepting in an election cycle not more than $200,000 in aggregate from each of: (1) political parties; and (2) persons other than political parties whose contributions total more than $200. Sets forth graduated civil monetary penalties for acceptance of low, medium, and large excess contributions. Requires annual limit indexing.

Title III: Independent Expenditures - Amends FECA to define "independent expenditure" as an expenditure for an advertisement or other communication that: (1) contains express advocacy; and (2) is made without the participation or cooperation of a candidate or a candidate's representative. Excludes from the meaning of "independent expenditure" any expenditure by: (1) a political committee of a political party; (2) persons who communicate or receive information about activities that have a purpose of influencing a candidate's election; and (3) persons with other specified relationships with a candidate or candidate's agents in the same election cycle.

Defines "express advocacy" as any communication that when taken as a whole: (1) expresses support for or opposition to a specific candidate, a specific group of candidates, or candidates of a particular political party; or (2) suggests taking action with respect to an election, such as voting for or against, contributing to, or participating in campaign activity.

(Sec. 302) Sets forth reporting requirements for certain independent expenditures.

(Sec. 303) Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require a broadcast or cable station to notify a candidate and offer equal broadcast opportunity if an independent communications expenditure has been made against such candidate.

Title IV: Contributions and Expenditures By Political Party Committees - Amends FECA to define: (1) "generic campaign activity" as a campaign activity on behalf of a party rather than a candidate; and (2) "State Party Grass Roots Fund" as a segregated State fund on behalf of a federal candidate.

(Sec. 402) Permits maximum contributions to a State Party Grassroots Fund of: (1) $20,000 by an individual; and (2) $15,000 from a multicandidate committee. Establishes an overall $60,000 annual limit on individual contributions, including specified limits for: (1) candidates and their political committees; and (2) State committees.

(Sec. 403) Subjects to certain limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements any amount ("soft money") solicited, received, or expended directly or indirectly by a national, State, district, or local committee of a political party (including any subordinate committee) with respect to an activity (such as voter registration and get-out-the vote activities, among others) which, in whole or in part, is in connection with an election to Federal office.

Prohibits a national political party committee and a congressional campaign committee from soliciting or accepting contributions not subject to FECA limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements.

(Sec. 404) Requires: (1) a national committee and a congressional campaign committee to report all receipts and disbursements whether or not in connection with a Federal election; and (2) any other political committee to report all receipts and disbursements in connection with a Federal election.

(Sec. 405) Prohibits Federal candidates and officeholders from soliciting contributions not subject to FECA.

(Sec. 406) Permits an authorized political committee to contribute up to $10,000 annually to the congressional campaign committees of a political party.

(Sec. 407) Increases permitted annual multicandidate political committee contributions to national political party committees to $25,000.

(Sec. 409) Permits individuals to contribute up to $20,000 annually to State party political committees.

Title V: Contributions - Amends FECA to prohibit any person from acting as a conduit or intermediary for contributions to a candidate. Permits joint fund raising by two or more candidates or fund raising by one candidate for another candidate. Defines "conduit or intermediary" but excludes from such definition candidates or their representatives, professional fund raisers, certain volunteer fund raisers, and persons transmitting a spouse's contribution.

(Sec. 502) Treats contributions by a dependent not of voting age as having been made by the individual of whom that person is a dependent.

(Sec. 503) Prohibits a candidate from accepting more than $100 in cash contributions from any one person.

(Sec. 504) Aggregates State and local committee contributions for purposes of political party committee contribution limits.

(Sec. 505) Prohibits false contribution solicitations.

(Sec. 506) Exempts certain advance payments made by campaign volunteers or workers from the definition of "contribution."

(Sec. 507) Considers corporation or labor union expenditures for candidate appearances or debates, voter guides, or voting records directed to the general public as contributions, with specified exemptions.

(Sec. 508) Prohibits specified election-related activities by foreign nations.

Title VI: Reporting Requirements - Amends FECA to require all Federal candidates and authorized committees to aggregate information on their financial activity reports on an election cycle basis (instead of a calendar year basis, as at present).

(Sec. 602) Requires candidates to report any expenditure in excess of the reporting threshold made to a person who provides services or materials for the candidate, whether the payment was made directly or indirectly under subcontract to another person providing personal or consulting services.

(Sec. 603) Reduces from $200 to $100 the threshold for reporting certain information by persons other than political committees.

(Sec. 604) Requires the Commission to maintain computerized indices of all contributions of at least $200.

(Sec. 607) Prohibits an unauthorized political committee from using a candidate's name so as to suggest the candidate has authorized such committee.

(Sec 609) Provides for the simultaneous registration of a candidate's statement of candidacy and principal campaign committee organization.

Title VII: Federal Election Commission - Amends FECA to authorize the Commission to appear as amici curiae or on its own behalf in any action related to its statutory duties.

(Sec. 702) Requires the Commission to make specified public service announcements regarding the Make Democracy Work Election Fund.

(Sec. 703) Grants the Commission injunctive relief authority.

(Sec. 704) Establishes expedited complaint resolution procedures.

Title VIII: Ballot Initiative Committees - Amends FECA to define a ballot initiative political committee as any committee, club, association or other group of persons which makes ballot initiative expenditures or receives ballot initiative contributions exceeding $1,000 during a calendar year in order to influence the outcome of any ballot initiative involving specified Federal issues voted on at the State, commonwealth, territory, or District of Columbia level.

(Sec. 802) Excludes ballot initiative contributions and expenditures from the usual meaning of contributions and expenditures under FECA.

(Sec. 804) Makes the political committee organizational and reporting requirements (and attendant civil penalties) under FECA applicable to ballot initiative committees.

Title IX: Miscellaneous - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require a broadcast station to make broadcast time available to candidates in the last 30 (currently 45) days before a primary and the last 45 (currently 60) days before a general election, at the lowest unit charge of the station for the same amount of time (currently, the same class and amount of time) for the same period on the same date.

Prohibits broadcasters from preempting advertisements sold to political candidates at the lowest unit rate, unless the preemption is beyond the broadcaster's control.

(Sec. 903) Directs the Commission to study and report to the Congress on the feasibility of developing telephonic voting for persons with disabilities.

Title X: House of Representatives Campaign Election Funding and Related Matters - Amends FECA to establish in the Treasury the Make Democracy Work Election Fund.

Title XI: Effective Dates; Severability - States that the provisions of this Act shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act, unless otherwise provided for, but shall not apply to any election occurring before January 1, 1995.

(Sec. 1102) Provides, with a specified exception, for severability of the provisions of this Act.

(Sec. 1103) Provides for direct appeal to, and expedited review by, the Supreme Court from any judicial determination of unconstitutionality arising under this Act.

(Sec. 1104) Provides for budget neutrality.