Text: H.R.3851 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one version of the bill.

Text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip?

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (05/13/1998)

 
[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3851 Introduced in House (IH)]







105th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 3851

   To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for 
       expenditure limitations and public financing for House of 
       Representatives general elections, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              May 13, 1998

   Mr. Obey introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
Committee on House Oversight, and in addition to the Committees on Ways 
and Means, and Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the 
  Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall 
           within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for 
       expenditure limitations and public financing for House of 
       Representatives general elections, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; FINDING.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Let the Public 
Decide Campaign Finance Reform Act''.
    (b) Finding.--The Congress finds that the existing system of 
private political contributions has become a fundamental threat to the 
integrity of the national election process and that the provisions 
contained in this Act are necessary to prevent the corruption of the 
public's faith in the Nation's system of governance.

  TITLE I--EXPENDITURE LIMITATIONS AND PUBLIC FINANCING FOR HOUSE OF 
                   REPRESENTATIVES GENERAL ELECTIONS

SEC. 101. NEW TITLE OF FEDERAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN ACT OF 1971.

    The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.) is 
amended by adding at the end the following new title:

 ``TITLE V--EXPENDITURE LIMITATIONS AND PUBLIC FINANCING FOR HOUSE OF 
                   REPRESENTATIVES GENERAL ELECTIONS

``SEC. 501. LIMITATION ON EXPENDITURES IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
              GENERAL ELECTIONS.

    ``A candidate in a House of Representatives general election may 
not make expenditures other than as provided in this title.

``SEC. 502. SOURCES OF AMOUNTS FOR EXPENDITURES BY CANDIDATES IN HOUSE 
              OF REPRESENTATIVES GENERAL ELECTIONS.

    ``The only sources of amounts for expenditures by candidates in 
House of Representatives general elections shall be--
            ``(1) the Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund, under section 
        505; and
            ``(2) additional amounts from State and national party 
        committees under section 506.

``SEC. 503. DISTRICT LIMITATION ON EXPENDITURES BY MAJOR PARTY 
              CANDIDATES.

    ``(a) In General.--Except as provided in section 506, the maximum 
amounts of expenditures by major party candidates in House of 
Representatives general elections shall be based on the median 
household income of the districts involved, as provided for in 
subsections (b) and (c).
    ``(b) Maximum for Wealthiest District.--In the congressional 
district with the highest median household income, maximum combined 
expenditures for all major party candidates with respect to a House of 
Representatives general election shall be a total of $1,000,000.
    ``(c) Maximum for Other Districts.--In each congressional district, 
other than the district referred to in subsection (b), the maximum 
combined expenditures for all major party candidates with respect to a 
House of Representatives general election shall be an amount equal to--
            ``(1) the maximum amount referred to in subsection (b), 
        less
            ``(2) the amount equal to--
                    ``(A) \2/3\ of the percentage difference between 
                the median household income of the district involved 
                and the median household income of the district 
                referred to in subsection (b), times
                    ``(B) the maximum amount referred to in subsection 
                (b).
    ``(d) Allocation.--The maximum expenditure for a major party 
candidate in a congressional district shall be 50 percent of the 
maximum amount under subsection (b) or (c), as applicable.

``SEC. 504. DISTRICT LIMITATION ON EXPENDITURES BY THIRD PARTY AND 
              INDEPENDENT CANDIDATES.

    ``(a) In General.--Except as provided in section 506, the maximum 
amounts of expenditures by third party and independent candidates in 
House of Representatives general elections shall be the amount 
allocated under subsection (b).
    ``(b) Allocation.--The maximum expenditure for a third party or 
independent candidate in a congressional district shall be--
            ``(1) the amount that bears the same ratio to the maximum 
        amount under subsection (b) or (c) of section 503, as 
        applicable, as the total popular vote in the district for 
        candidates of the third party or for all independent candidates 
        (as the case may be) bears to the total popular vote for all 
        candidates in the 5 preceding general elections; or
            ``(2) in the case of a candidate in a district in which no 
        third party or independent candidates (as the case may be) 
        received votes in the 5 preceding general elections, the amount 
        corresponding to the number of signatures presented to and 
        verified by the Commission according to the following table:

                  ``20,000 signatures................           $75,000
                  30,000 signatures..................           100,000
                  40,000 signatures..................           150,000
                  50,000 signatures..................           200,000

``SEC. 505. GRASSROOTS GOOD CITIZENSHIP FUND.

    ``(a) Creation of Fund.--There is established in the Treasury a 
trust fund to be known as the `Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund', 
consisting of such amounts as may be credited to such fund as provided 
in this section.
    ``(b) District Accounts.--There shall be established within the 
Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund an account for each congressional 
district. The accounts so established shall be administered by the 
Commission for the purpose of distributing amounts under this title.
    ``(c) Payments to Candidates.--Subject to subsection (d), the 
Commission shall pay to each candidate from the Grassroots Good 
Citizenship Fund the maximum amount calculated for such candidate under 
section 503 or 504.
    ``(d) Insufficient Amounts.--If, as determined by the Commission, 
there are insufficient amounts in the Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund 
for payments under subsection (c), the Commission may reduce payments 
to candidates so that each candidate receives a pro rata portion of the 
amounts that are available.
    ``(e) Transfers to Fund.--There are hereby credited to the 
Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund amounts equivalent to the amounts 
designated under section 6097 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
    ``(f) Expenditures.--Amounts in the Grassroots Good Citizenship 
Fund shall be available for the purpose of providing amounts for 
expenditure by candidates in House of Representatives general elections 
in accordance with this title.

``SEC. 506. ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS FROM STATE AND NATIONAL PARTY 
              COMMITTEES.

    ``(a) Contributions.--In addition to amounts made available under 
section 503 or 504, in the case of a candidate in a House of 
Representatives general election who is the candidate of a political 
party, the State and national committees of that political party may 
make contributions to the candidate totaling not more than 5 percent of 
the maximum expenditure applicable to the candidate under section 503 
or section 504.
    ``(b) Expenditures.--A House of Representatives candidate who is 
the candidate of a political party may make expenditures of the amounts 
received under subsection (a).

``SEC. 507. PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS.

    ``(a) In General.--Beginning on January 15, and continuing through 
April 15 of each year, the Commission shall carry out a program, 
utilizing broadcast announcements and other appropriate means, to 
inform the public of the existence and purpose of the Grassroots Good 
Citizenship Fund and the role that individual citizens can play in the 
election process by voluntarily contributing to the fund. The 
announcements shall be broadcast during prime time viewing hours in 30-
second advertising segments equivalent to 200 gross rating points per 
network per week. The Commission shall ensure that the maximum number 
of taxpayers shall be exposed to these announcements. Television 
networks, as defined by the Federal Communications Commission, shall 
provide the broadcast time under this section as part of their 
obligations in the public interest under the Communications Act of 
1934. The Federal Election Commission shall encourage broadcast outlets 
other than the above mentioned television networks including radio to 
provide similar announcements.
    ``(b) Gross Rating Point.--The term `gross rating point' is a 
measure of the total gross weight delivered. It is the sum of the 
ratings for individual programs. Since a household rating period is 1 
percent of the coverage base, 200 gross rating points means 2 messages 
a week per average household.

``SEC. 508. DEFINITIONS.

    ``As used in this title--
            ``(1) the term `House of Representatives candidate' means a 
        candidate for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or 
        Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;
            ``(2) the term `median household income' means, with 
        respect to a congressional district, the median household 
        income of that district, as determined by the Commission, using 
        the most current data from the Bureau of the Census;
            ``(3) the term `major party' means, with respect to a House 
        of Representatives general election, a political party whose 
        candidate for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or 
        Resident Commissioner to, the Congress in the preceding general 
        election received, as the candidate of such party, 25 percent 
        or more of the total number of popular votes received by all 
        candidates for such office;
            ``(4) the term `third party' means with respect to a House 
        of Representatives general election, a political party whose 
        candidate for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or 
        Resident Commissioner to, the Congress in the preceding general 
        election received, as the candidate of such party, less than 25 
        percent of the total number of popular votes received by all 
        candidates for such office;
            ``(5) the term `independent candidate' means, with respect 
        to a House of Representatives general election, a candidate for 
        the office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident 
        Commissioner to, the Congress who is not the candidate of a 
        major party or a third party; and
            ``(6) the term `House of Representatives general election' 
        means a general election for the office of Representative in, 
        or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress.''.

         TITLE II--AMENDMENTS TO INTERNAL REVENUE CODE OF 1986

SEC. 201. DESIGNATION OF OVERPAYMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS FOR GRASSROOTS 
              GOOD CITIZENSHIP FUND.

    (a) In General.--Subchapter A of chapter 61 of the Internal Revenue 
Code of 1986 (relating to returns and records) is amended by adding at 
the end the following:

``PART IX--DESIGNATION OF OVERPAYMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS FOR GRASSROOTS 
                         GOOD CITIZENSHIP FUND

                              ``Sec. 6097. Designation of overpayments 
                                        for Grassroots Good Citizenship 
                                        Fund.

``SEC. 6097. DESIGNATION OF OVERPAYMENTS FOR GRASSROOTS GOOD 
              CITIZENSHIP FUND.

    ``(a) In General.--With respect to each taxpayer's return for the 
taxable year of the tax imposed by chapter 1, such taxpayer may 
designate that--
            ``(1) a specified portion (not less than $1 or more than 
        $10,000, and not less than $1 or more than $20,000 in the case 
        of a joint return) of any overpayment of tax for such taxable 
        year, and
            ``(2) any contribution which the taxpayer includes with 
        such return,
shall be paid over to the Grassroots Good Citizenship Fund under 
section 505 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.
    ``(b) Manner and Time of Designation.--A designation under 
subsection (a) may be made with respect to any taxable year only at the 
time of filing the return of tax imposed by chapter 1 for such taxable 
year. Such designation shall be made on the 1st page of the return.
    ``(c) Overpayments Treated as Refunded.--For purposes of this 
title, any portion of an overpayment of tax designated under subsection 
(a) shall be treated as being refunded to the taxpayer as of the last 
date prescribed for filing the return of tax imposed by chapter 1 
(determined without regard to extensions) or, if later, the date the 
return is filed.''.
    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of parts for such subchapter A 
is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new item:

                              ``Part IX. Designation of overpayments 
                                        and contributions for certain 
                                        purposes relating to House of 
                                        Representatives elections.''.
    (c) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section shall 
apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 1998.

SEC. 202. INCREASE IN CORPORATE INCOME TAX ON TAXABLE INCOME ABOVE 
              $10,000,000.

    (a) In General.--Paragraph (4) of subsection (b) of section 11 of 
the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking ``35 percent'' 
and inserting ``35.1 percent''.
    (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by subsection (a) shall 
apply to taxable years beginning after the date of the enactment of 
this Act.
    (c) Use of Amounts Received.--Amounts received by reason of the 
amendment made by subsection (a) shall be paid over to the Grassroots 
Good Citizenship Fund under section 505 of the Federal Election 
Campaign Act of 1971.

        TITLE III--BAN ON USE OF SOFT MONEY BY HOUSE CANDIDATES

SEC. 301. BAN ON USE OF SOFT MONEY BY HOUSE CANDIDATES.

    Title III of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 
431 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

        ``ban on use of non-regulated funds by house candidates

    ``Sec. 323. (a) In General.--No funds may be solicited, disbursed, 
or otherwise used with respect to any House of Representatives election 
unless the funds are subject to the limitations and prohibitions of 
this Act.
    ``(b) House of Representatives Election Defined.--In this section, 
the term `House of Representatives election' means any election for the 
office of Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, 
the Congress.''.

                   TITLE IV--INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

SEC. 401. BAN ON INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
              ELECTIONS.

    (a) In General.--Section 315 of the Federal Election Campaign Act 
of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 441a) is amended by adding at the end the following 
new subsection;
    ``(i) No person may make any independent expenditure with respect 
to an election for the office of Representative in, or Delegate or 
Resident Commissioner to, the Congress.''.
    (b) Clarification of Definitions Relating to Independent 
Expenditures.--
            (1) In general.--Section 301 of such Act (2 U.S.C. 431) is 
        amended by striking paragraphs (17) and (18) and inserting the 
        following new paragraphs:
    ``(17) The term `independent expenditure' means an expenditure for 
a communication (other than a communication which is described in 
clause (i) or clause (iii) of paragraph (9)(B) or which would be 
described in such clause if the communication were otherwise treated as 
an expenditure under this title)--
            ``(A) which is made during the 90-day period ending on the 
        date of a general election for Federal office and which 
        identifies a candidate for election for such office by name, 
        image, or likeness; or
            ``(B) which contains express advocacy and is made without 
        the participation or cooperation of, or consultation with, a 
        candidate or a candidate's representative.
    ``(18) The term `express advocacy' means, when a communication is 
taken as a whole and with limited reference to external events, an 
expression of support for or opposition to a specific candidate, to a 
specific group of candidates, or to candidates of a particular 
political party, or a suggestion to take action with respect to an 
election, such as to vote for or against, make contributions to, or 
participate in campaign activity, or an expression which would 
reasonably be construed as intending to influence the outcome of an 
election.''.
            (2) Contribution definition amendment.--Section 301(8)(A) 
        of such Act (2 U.S.C. 431(8)(A)) is amended--
                    (A) in clause (i), by striking ``or'' after the 
                semicolon at the end;
                    (B) in clause (ii), by striking the period at the 
                end and inserting ``; or''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following new clause:
            ``(iii) any payment or other transaction referred to in 
        paragraph (17)(A) that does not qualify as an independent 
        expenditure under paragraph (17)(B).''.

SEC. 402. BAN ON USE OF SOFT MONEY FOR CERTAIN EXPENDITURES.

    Title III of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 
431 et seq.), as amended by section 301, is further amended by adding 
at the end the following new section:

       ``ban on use of non-federal funds for certain expenditures

    ``Sec. 324. (a) In General.--No person may disburse any funds for 
any expenditure described in subsection (b) unless the funds are 
subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of 
this Act.
    ``(b) Expenditures Described.--The expenditures described in this 
subsection are as follows:
            ``(1) An expenditure made by an authorized committee of a 
        candidate for Federal office or a political committee of a 
        political party.
            ``(2) An expenditure made by a person who, during the 
        election cycle, has made a contribution to a candidate, where 
        the expenditure is in support of that candidate or in 
        opposition to another candidate for the same office.
            ``(3) An expenditure made by a person, or a political 
        committee established, maintained or controlled by such person, 
        who is required to register, under section 308 of the Federal 
        Regulation of Lobbying Act (2 U.S.C. 267) or the Foreign Agents 
        Registration Act (22 U.S.C. 611) or any successor Federal law 
        requiring a person who is a lobbyist or foreign agent to 
        register.
            ``(4) An expenditure made by a person who, during the 
        election cycle, has communicated with or received information 
        from a candidate or a representative of that candidate 
        regarding activities that have the purpose of influencing that 
        candidate's election to Federal office, where the expenditure 
        is in support of that candidate or in opposition to another 
        candidate for that office.
            ``(5) An expenditure if, in the same election cycle, the 
        person making the expenditure is or has been--
                    ``(A) authorized to raise or expend funds on behalf 
                of the candidate or the candidate's authorized 
                committees; or
                    ``(B) serving as a member, employee, or agent of 
                the candidate's authorized committees in an executive 
                or policymaking position.''.

   TITLE V--PROVISIONS RELATING TO HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PRIMARY 
                               ELECTIONS

SEC. 501. LIMITATION ON EXPENDITURES IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 
              ELECTIONS OTHER THAN GENERAL ELECTIONS.

    Section 315 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 
441a), as amended by section 401, is further amended by adding at the 
end the following new subsection:
    ``(j)(1) The maximum expenditures for a candidate for the office of 
Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the 
Congress in any election other than a general election may not exceed 
\1/3\ of the maximum applicable to the candidate in a general election 
under title V.
    ``(2) For purposes of limitations under this Act, any expenditure 
by a candidate referred to in paragraph (1), including an expenditure 
for the preparation, production, or presentation of communications 
through electronic media or in written form, shall, regardless of when 
the expenditure is made, be attributed to the appropriate general 
election, unless such expenditure is made solely for an election other 
than a general election.''.

SEC. 502. LIMITATION ON ACCEPTANCE OF LARGE DONOR MULTICANDIDATE 
              POLITICAL COMMITTEE CONTRIBUTIONS BY HOUSE OF 
              REPRESENTATIVES CANDIDATES.

    Section 315 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 
441a), as amended by sections 401 and 501, is further amended by adding 
at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(k)(1) A candidate for the office of Representative in, or 
Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress, and the authorized 
political committees of such candidate, may not, with respect to an 
election other than a general election, accept contributions from large 
donor multicandidate political committees in excess of 20 percent of 
the maximum amount which the candidate may expend with respect to the 
election under subsection (j).
    ``(2) In paragraph (1), the term `large donor multicandidate 
political committee' means a multicandidate political committee that 
accepts contributions totaling more than $200 from any single source in 
a calendar year.''.

          TITLE VI--CONSIDERATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

SEC. 601. EXPEDITED CONSIDERATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

    (a) In General.--If any provision of this Act or any amendment made 
by this Act is found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the 
provisions of section 2908 (other than subsection (a)) of the Defense 
Base Closure and Realignment Act of 1990 shall apply to the 
consideration of a joint resolution described in section 602 in the 
same manner as such provisions apply to a joint resolution described in 
section 2908(a) of such Act.
    (b) Special rules.--For purposes of applying subsection (a) with 
respect to such provisions, the following rules shall apply:
            (1) Any reference to the Committee on Armed Services of the 
        House of Representatives shall be deemed a reference to the 
        Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and 
        any reference to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate 
        shall be deemed a reference to the Committee on the Judiciary 
        of the Senate.
            (2) Any reference to the date on which the President 
        transmits a report shall be deemed a reference to the date on 
        which the Supreme Court finds a provision of this Act or an 
        amendment made by this Act unconstitutional.

SEC. 602. CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT DESCRIBED.

    For purposes of section 601, a joint resolution described in this 
section is a joint resolution proposing the following text as an 
amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

                              ``Article --

    ``Section 1. Congress may provide for reasonable restrictions on 
contributions and expenditures in campaigns for election for Federal 
office as necessary to protect the integrity of the electoral process.
    ``Sec. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by 
appropriate legislation. No legislation enacted to enforce this article 
shall apply with respect to any election held after the last day of the 
year of the third Presidential election held after the date of the 
enactment of the legislation, unless the period in which such 
legislation is in effect is extended by an Act of Congress which is 
signed into law by the President.''.
                                 <all>