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

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (02/05/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Congressional Campaign Spending Limits and Benefits

Subtitle A: Election Campaign Spending Limits and

Benefits

Subtitle B: Limitations on Contributions to House of

Representatives Candidates

Subtitle C: Related Provisions

Subtitle D: Tax on Excess Political Expenditures of

Certain Congressional Campaign Funds

Title II: Independent Expenditures

Title III: Contributions and Expenditures by Political Party

Committees

Title IV: Contributions

Title V: Reporting Requirements

Title VI: Broadcast Rates and Campaign Advertising

Title VII: Miscellaneous

Title VIII: Effective Dates; Authorizations

American Political Reform Act - Title I: Congressional Campaign Spending Limits and Benefits - Subtitle A: Election Campaign Spending Limits and Benefits - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to limit the amount of aggregate expenditures an eligible House of Representatives candidate may make in an election cycle, runoff election, special election, and closely contested primary. Excludes from the limitation cases involving: (1) certain non-participating opponents; and (2) certain independent expenditures made during the election cycle against an eligible House candidate. Prohibits an eligible House candidate from making contributions or loans from personal funds to the candidate's own campaign totaling more than $50,000 and conditions that such contributions may not qualify for certification for voter benefits. Exempts an eligible House candidate from the preceding limitation if any other general election candidate for that office: (1) makes personal contributions to the candidate's own campaign totaling more than $50,000; or (2) with respect to any contribution or loan used for certain exempted costs. Requires that any contribution or loan to a candidate's campaign by a member of the candidate's immediate family shall be treated as made by the candidate.

Authorizes the Federal Election Commission to examine and audit the campaign accounts of five percent of the eligible House candidates after each general election. Provides for civil penalties for low, medium, and large amounts of excess expenditures with respect to an election cycle, runoff election, and special election. Authorizes the Commission to assess a specified civil penalty against a candidate determined to have misused benefits and limits the notification period to no more than three years after an election.

Prohibits the receipt of benefits unless such candidate certifies to the Commission that any television commercials of the candidate contain closed captioning.

Subtitle B: Limitations on Contributions to House of Representatives Candidates - Limits the aggregate amount of contributions a House candidate may accept from multicandidate political committees with respect to an election for Federal office or to an election cycle (not including a runoff election). Requires that any political committee which is established or financed or maintained or controlled by any candidate or Federal officeholder shall be deemed to be the candidate's or Federal officeholder's authorized committee.

(Sec. 122) Places limitations on contributions from political committees (PACs) and individual large donors to candidates for the office of Representative in, or Delegate, or Resident Commissioner to the Congress with respect to an election cycle, contested primaries, and runoff elections.

Subtitle C: Related Provisions - Revises certain requirements of reporting by a House candidate, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner with respect to certain excess contributions of personal funds and certain expenditures. Requires: (1) a candidate to report to the Commission that the threshold has been reached no later than 48 hours after reaching the threshold; and (2) the Commission to transmit a copy to each other candidate for election to the same office within 48 hours of receipt.

(Sec. 132) Provides for registration as an eligible House candidate.

Subtitle D: Tax on Excess Political Expenditures of Certain Congressional Campaign Funds - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to impose a tax on excess political expenditures of any applicable campaign fund for any election cycle.

Title II: Independent Expenditures - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to redefine the term "independent expenditures."

(Sec. 202) Sets forth reporting requirements for certain independent expenditures, including for a reservation of broadcast time.

Title III: Contributions and Expenditures by Political Party Committees - Revises certain contribution and expenditure exception definitions with respect to contributions and expenditures made by a political party committee in connection with activities conducted solely by volunteers.

(Sec. 302) Limits the amount of contributions and expenditures made by an individual or a multicandidate political committee in any calendar year to a State Party Grassroots Fund or any other State political committee. Sets forth an overall limit on individual contributions made during any election cycle.

Applies the limitation on expenditures to presidential committee transfers to the candidate's national political party for distribution to State Party Grassroots Funds. Authorizes the Commission to require reporting of the transfers, conduct an examination and audit of any such transfer, and require the return of the transferred amounts to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund if not used for the appropriate purpose.

(Sec. 303) Increases the amount that multicandidate political committees may contribute to national political party committees.

(Sec. 304) Sets forth provisions regarding amounts received by any political committee as a commission or royalty on: (1) the sale of goods or services; or (2) the issuance of credit cards from a corporation, including a State-chartered or national bank.

(Sec. 305) Prohibits a national political party committee and the congressional campaign committees of a political party from soliciting or accepting soft money contributions or transfers. Limits disbursements a State political party committee may make from its State Party Grassroots Fund. Prohibits certain transfers of funds by a State political party committee from its State Grassroots Fund. Adds definitions respecting contributions and expenditure exceptions.

Requires the applicable congressional campaign committee of a political party to make certain expenditures authorized by a State or national committee in connection with a general election campaign for candidates for Federal office unless the State or national committee allocates all or a portion of such expenditures to either or both of such committees. Allows a national or State committee to match independent expenditures made on the opponent's behalf during the campaign.

(Sec. 306) Limits the fund raising activities of Federal candidates and office holders and certain political committees. Prohibits an individual who is a candidate for, or holds, Federal office during any period, from soliciting contributions to or on behalf of any tax-exempt organization under specified circumstances.

(Sec. 307) Sets forth requirements of reporting by political committees. Provides that exclusion of any gift, subscription, loan, etc. shall not apply for the purposes of any requirement to report contributions and requires that exempt contributions aggregating in excess of $200 (and disbursements therefrom) be reported. Authorizes the Commission to allow a State political party committee to file with the Commission a report under State law if the Commission determines such reports contain substantially the same information.

Title IV: Contributions - Sets forth restrictions on the bundling of contributions.

(Sec. 403) Prohibits a candidate or the candidate's authorized committee from accepting a cash contribution from any one person aggregating more than $100.

(Sec. 404) Prohibits a candidate for Federal office from accepting any contribution from a State or local committee of a political party, including any subordinate committee of such committee, if such contribution when aggregated exceeds the contribution limit.

(Sec. 406) Revises the definition of "contribution" to provide for a limited exclusion of any advance voluntarily made by a campaign worker on behalf of the candidate's authorized committee.

(Sec. 407) Makes amendments with respect to payments made by corporations or labor organizations for candidate debates, voter guides, or voting records directed to the general public.

(Sec. 408) Prohibits a foreign national from directly or indirectly participating in any individual's election-related activities.

Title V: Reporting Requirements - Changes certain reporting from a calendar year basis to an election cycle basis.

(Sec. 502) Requires that a political committee report expenditures made by a candidate or the candidate's authorized committees for personal and consulting services by certain individuals other than employees and prescribes that such individuals maintain records of such services and report the information to the political committee.

(Sec. 505) Revises the date for filing quarterly reports. Authorizes the treasurer of a political committee to file monthly reports. Requires filing of monthly reports if at any time during the election year a committee receives contributions or makes disbursements in excess of $100,000 ($10,000 in the case of a multicandidate political committee). Modifies requirements concerning best efforts by the treasurer of a political committee to obtain, maintain, and report contributor information.

(Sec. 506) Permits the candidate's principal campaign committee to register on the date of its designation.

(Sec. 507) Revises reporting requirements with respect to certain communications made by corporations and labor organizations.

Title VI: Broadcast Rates and Campaign Advertising - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to revise provisions relating to broadcast rates and preemption of the use of a broadcast station by a legally qualified candidate. Sets forth provisions regarding: (1) broadcast and cable independent expenditure communications made by any individual against an eligible House of Representatives candidate; (2) a licensee that endorses a candidate for Federal office in an editorial; and (3) revocation of a license for failure to permit access to a broadcasting station or cable system under the same terms, conditions, and business practices as apply to its most favored advertiser.

(Sec. 603) Amends Federal law to extend eligibility for nonprofit third-class bulk rates of postage to a qualified campaign committee.

Title VII: Miscellaneous - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to revise requirements respecting the prohibition of political committees that supports or has supported more than one candidate from being designated as an authorized committee. Prohibits a candidate for Federal office or any individual holding Federal office from establishing leadership committees.

(Sec. 702) Authorizes the Commission to appear on its own behalf in any action relating to the exercise of its statutory duties in any court as either a party or as amicus curiae.

(Sec. 703) Prohibits solicitation or acceptance of campaign contributions by House Members in the Halls of the House of Representatives, rooms leading thereto, or the cloakrooms.

Title VIII: Effective Dates; Authorizations - Sets forth provisions concerning: (1) effective date; (2) severability; and (3) Supreme Court review of constitutional issues.