There is one summary for this bill. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (03/19/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Reduction of Special Interest Influence

Title II: Independent and Coordinated Expenditures

Title III: Disclosure

Title IV: Personal Wealth Option

Title V: Miscellaneous

Title VI: Severability; Constitutionality; Effective Date;

Regulations

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 1998 - Title I: Reduction of Special Interest Influence - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) with respect to "soft money" to: (1) prohibit a national committee of a political party, including a national congressional campaign committee of political party, and any officers or agents of such party committees, and specified related entities, from soliciting, receiving, or directing to another person a contribution, donation, or transfer of funds, or spend any funds not subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of FECA; (2) require State, district, or local committees of political parties (including specified related entities) to make expenditures and disbursements for Federal election activities (with exceptions) from funds subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of FECA; (3) require national, State, district, or local committees and specified related entities to make amounts spent for fundraising costs of Federal election activities from funds subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of FECA; (4) prohibit national, State, district, or local committees (including national congressional campaign committees and specified related entities) from soliciting funds for, or making or directing donations to, tax-exempt organizations or organizations that have submitted applications for tax-exemption status; and (5) prohibit candidates, incumbents, or their agents from soliciting, receiving, directing, transferring, or spending funds for Federal election activities on behalf of such candidates, incumbents, agents or any other persons (with exceptions), unless the funds are subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of FECA.

(Sec. 102) Prohibits any person from making contributions to a State committee in any year that exceed, in the aggregate, $10,000.

Increases the aggregate individual contribution limit from $25,000 to $30,000.

(Sec. 103) Requires: (1) national committees, national congressional campaign committees, and subordinate committees of either, to report all receipts and disbursements during the reporting period; (2) State, district, and local committees to report all receipts and disbursements made for specified Federal election activities; and (3) political committees having receipts or disbursements from persons in excess of $200 for any year, to separately itemize their reporting for such persons.

Title II: Independent and Coordinated Expenditures - Redefines the term "independent expenditure" to mean an expenditure by a person for: (1) a communication that is express advocacy; and (2) that is not provided in coordination with a candidate or a candidate's agent, or a person who is coordinating with a candidate or a candidate's agent. Defines the term "express advocacy."

Redefines the term "expenditure" to include: (1) a payment for a communication that is express advocacy; and (2) a payment made by a person for a communication that refers to a clearly identified candidate, is provided in coordination with the candidate, the candidate's agent, or the candidate's political party, and is for the purpose of influencing a Federal election (regardless of whether the communication is express advocacy).

(Sec. 202) Prohibits the Commission, if the Commission determines that there is probable cause to believe that a person has made a knowing and willful violation involving the reporting of an independent expenditure, from entering into a conciliation agreement. Permits the Commission, when it makes such a determination, to institute a civil action for relief. (Sec. 203) Sets forth reporting requirements for certain independent expenditures made by persons (including political committees) aggregating: (1) $1,000 or more; and (2) $10,000 or more. Requires additional reports to be filed each time such independent expenditures are made. Requires such reports to: (1) be filed with the Commission; and (2) and contain the information required for a person who receives any disbursement in excess of $200 in connection with an independent expenditure, including the name of each candidate to whom an expenditure is intended to support or oppose.

(Sec. 204) Prohibits a committee of a political party, on or after the date on which the political party nominates a candidate, from making both coordinated expenditures and independent expenditures to the candidate during the election cycle.

Requires a committee of a political party, before making a coordinated expenditure to a candidate, to file with the Commission a certification that the committee has not and shall not make any independent expenditure to the candidate during the same election cycle. Prohibits a committee of a political party that submits a certification with respect to a candidate from, during an election cycle, transferring any funds to, assigning authority to make coordinated expenditures to, or receiving a transfer of funds from, a political committee of the party that has made or intends to make an independent expenditure to the candidate.

(Sec. 205) Redefines the term "contribution" to include anything of value provided by a person in coordination with a candidate for the purpose of influencing a Federal election in which such candidate seeks nomination or election to Federal office, regardless of whether the value being provided is a communication that is express advocacy. Defines the term "provided in coordination with a candidate." Considers a thing of value provided in coordination with a candidate, as a contribution to the candidate, and in the case of a limitation on expenditures, shall be treated as an expenditure by the candidate.

Redefines the term "contribution or expenditure" with respect to contributions or expenditures by national banks, corporations, and labor organizations, to include a contribution or expenditure as defined under this Act.

Title III: Disclosure - Replaces provisions permitting the filing of reports electronically with provisions requiring the Commission to: (1) promulgate a regulation for the filing of reports using computers and facsimile machines; (2) make electronically filed reports accessible to the public on the Internet within 24 hours after such reports are received by the Commission; and (3) provide methods (other than requiring a signature on the document being filed) for verifying reports covered by the regulation.

(Sec. 302) Prohibits the deposit (except in escrow accounts) or negotiation of contributions from a person making aggregate contributions in excess of $200 during a year by a candidate's authorized committee unless the required contributor information is complete.

(Sec. 303) Permits the Commission to conduct random audits and investigations to ensure voluntary compliance with FECA. Extends, from six to twelve months, the period during which campaign audits may be begun.

(Sec. 304) Revises reporting requirements for the identification of contributors (other than political committees) to: (1) lower the $200 threshold for the reporting of contributor identification to $50; and (2) require that the identification of persons who make contributions of at least $50 but not more than $200 during a year need include only their names and addresses.

(Sec. 305) Revises requirements for the use of candidates' names.

(Sec. 306) Prohibits a person soliciting contributions by falsely representing himself or herself to be a candidate or a representative of a candidate, a political committee, or a political party.

(Sec. 307) Requires filing of a certain statement with the Commission by persons, other than political committees and religious and apostolic organizations, that make aggregate disbursements in excess of $50,000 during a year for specified Federal election activities: (1) on a monthly basis; or (2) within 24 hours, in the case of disbursements made within 20 days of an election. Exempts from such filing requirements: (1) a candidate or a candidate's authorized committees; and (2) independent expenditures.

(Sec. 308) Revises provisions concerning the publication and distribution of any print, broadcast, or general political advertising.

Title IV: Personal Wealth Option - Directs the Commission to issue a certification that a House of Representatives candidate is an eligible primary or general election candidate if the candidate files with the Commission a declaration that the candidate and the candidate's authorized committees will not (in the case of a primary candidate) or did not (in the case of a general election candidate) exceed a personal funds expenditure limit of $50,000. Directs the Commission, if the limit is exceeded to: (1) revoke the certification; and (2) require the candidate and the candidate's authorized committees to pay a penalty to the Commission. Prohibits coordinated expenditures if a candidate is not an eligible House candidate.

Title V: Miscellaneous - Amends the National Labor Relations Act to make it an unfair labor practice for any labor organization, which receives payments from an employee pursuant to an agreement requiring non-member employees to make payments to such organization in lieu of organization dues or fees, not to establish and implement the requirements of a specified objection procedure.

(Sec. 502) Amends FECA to revise provisions concerning the permitted and prohibited uses of contributed amounts by candidates and incumbents for certain purposes.

(Sec. 503) Revises Federal law concerning permitted time frames for mailing franked mail to prohibit any mass mailing as franked mail during any year in which there will be an election for a seat held by a Member during the period between January 1 of the election year and the date of the general election, unless the Member will not be a candidate for reelection.

(Sec. 504) Amends Federal criminal law to revise the prohibition on fundraising on Federal property. Prohibits an officer or employee of the Federal Government, including the President, Vice-President, and Members of the Congress, from soliciting a donation of money or other thing of value for a political committee or candidate for Federal, State, or local office, from any person while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties by an officer or employee of the United States. Imposes on violators a monetary penalty, imprisonment, or both. Excepts from the prohibition contributions received by the staff of the Executive Office of the President.

(Sec. 505) Amends FECA to double the penalties for knowing and willful violations of FECA, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act, and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act. Permits in the inclusion of conciliation agreements for such violations, equitable remedies or penalties, including disgorgement of funds to the Treasury or community service requirements (including requirements to participate in public education programs).

Sets forth requirements for the late filing of FECA reports, including requiring the establishment of mandatory monetary penalties.

(Sec. 506) Revises the ban on contributions by foreign nationals by making it unlawful for: (1) foreign nationals to make donations in connection with Federal, State, or local elections to political committees or candidates for Federal office, or contributions or donations to committees of political parties; or (2) persons to solicit, accept, or receive such contributions or donations from foreign nationals.

(Sec. 507) Prohibits minors from making contributions to candidates or contributions or donations to committees of political parties.

(Sec. 508) Permits the Commission to: (1) order expedited proceedings for certain complaints; and (2) refer, at any time, to the Attorney General a possible violation of FECA, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act, or the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act.

(Sec. 509) Revises the basis for mandatory Commission initiation of enforcement proceedings upon receipt of a complaint alleging a violation of such Acts. Replaces "has reason to believe" a violation has been or is about to be committed with "has reason to investigate whether" such a violation has been or is about to be committed.

Title VI: Severability; Constitutionality; Effective Date; Regulations - Sets forth provisions concerning: (1) severability; (2) review of constitutional issues; (3) effective date; and (4) regulations.