Summary: S.1561 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1561. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (11/13/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Enhancement of Citizens Involvement

Title II: Leveling the Playing Field for Candidates

Title III: Voluntariness of Political Contributions

Title IV: Elimination of Election Campaign Excesses

Title V: Enhanced Disclosure

Title VI: Federal Election Commission Reform

Title VII: Improvements to the National Voter Registration

Act

Constitutional and Effective Reform of Campaigns Act of 1997 - Title I: Enhancement of Citizens Involvement - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to revise provisions which prohibit a foreign national from making a contribution in connection with any political election. Extends such prohibition to include, among other things: (1) any individual not registered to vote in a Federal election; and (2) donations.

Defines the term "donation" to mean a gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything else of value made by any person to national committee of a political party or a Senatorial or Congressional Campaign Committee of a national political party for any purpose, but does not include a contribution.

(Sec. 102) Increases the $1,000 individual per candidate limit on contributions to $2,000. Provides for the indexing of such limit and other contribution limits.

(Sec. 103) Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow individuals a limited tax credit for contributions made to local congressional candidates.

Title II: Leveling the Playing Field for Candidates - Amends FECA to permit certain House and Senate individual and multicandidate political committee contribution limits to be increased up to four times until the aggregate of such contributions exceed specified limits.

(Sec. 202) Increases individual and multicandidate political committee contribution limits for a particular election when personal expenditures in excess of $25,000 are made by an opposing candidate. Requires Senate candidates making expenditures from personal funds in excess of such amount in connection with any election to file a notification within 24 hours.

(Sec. 203) Amends Federal law to revise provisions concerning time limits on the mailing of any mass mailing as franked mail by Members or Members-elect, including adding a provision which prohibits a Member of the Senate from mailing any mass mailing as franked mail during a year in which there will be an election for the seat held by the Member during the period between January 1 of that year and the date of the general election for that office, unless the Member has made a public announcement that he or she will not be a candidate for reelection to that office in that year.

Title III: Voluntariness of Political Contributions - Sets forth requirements for the voluntary, written authorization of the use of dues and fees of employees of labor organizations.

Amends the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act of 1959 to require a labor organization's annual financial report to include such information as will allow labor organization members and employees to determine whether disbursements categorized as other disbursements were necessary to perform the duties of exclusive representation of the employees in dealing with the employer on labor- management issues. Directs the Secretary of Labor, on the written request of any person, to make available the complete copies of a labor organization's constitution, bylaws, and annual financial reports. (Currently, such documents may be inspected but there is no specific requirement to make available complete copies.)

(Sec. 302) Amends FECA to require corporations, required by any law of the Congress to submit annual reports to shareholders, to disclose: (1) the aggregate amount of donations made; and (2) the name of the political committee to which each donation was made.

Title IV: Elimination of Election Campaign Excesses - Amends Federal law to prohibit the solicitation or receipt of contributions or donations on Federal property. (Currently, the prohibition is limited to the solicitation or receipt of contributions.)

(Sec. 402) Amends FECA to set forth provisions concerning the return to donors of certain contributions and donations. (Sec. 403) Prohibits an individual's aggregate donations to a national committee of a political party (or any subordinate committee of a national party) or a Senatorial or Congressional Campaign Committee of a national political party (or an entity that is either directly or indirectly established, financed, maintained, controlled by, or acting on behalf of, such a committee) from exceeding $100,000 during a calendar year.

Increases: (1) from $20,000 to $50,000 the limit on an individual's contributions to political committees of a national political party; and (2) from $25,000 to $50,000 the limit on an individual's aggregate contributions.

(Sec. 404) Revises provisions concerning the prohibition on the conversion of contributions to personal use.

Title V: Enhanced Disclosure - Revises certain reporting requirements with respect to candidates, including requiring the treasurer of a candidate's principal campaign committee to file weekly reports beginning 30 days before a general election.

(Sec. 502) Directs the Commission to make information contained in FECA reports available on the Internet and at the Commission's offices.

(Sec. 503) Sets forth provisions requiring the reporting of independent expenditures made within 20 days before an election which, in the aggregate, total more than $1,000. Requires, in addition, a report when such expenditures during such time, in the aggregate, total more than $10,000.

(Sec. 504) Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act to 1995, regarding semiannual reporting by registered lobbyists, to: (1) require such lobbyists to disclose contributions and donations in such reports; and (2) include specified information if the registrant, the registrant's employer, or a separate segregated fund of such employer made contributions or donations to covered executive branch officials, covered legislative branch officials, or political committees.

Title VI: Federal Election Commission Reform - Amends FECA to: (1) provide for the filing of reports using computers and facsimile machines; (2) revise the requirement for the terms of members of the Commission to limit Commissioners to one term of no more than eight years; (3) increase the penalty for knowing and willful violations of FECA or of provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) relating to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account; (4) permit an individual who is responding with a brief to an alleged violation of FECA or the preceding IRC provisions to submit, with the brief, a request to present oral arguments before the Commission; (5) establish civil penalties for minor reporting violations; (6) change certain reporting from a calendar year basis to an election cycle basis; and (7) provide for the appointment of the staff director and general counsel of the Commission by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate (currently such appointments are made by the Commission).

Title VII: Improvements to the National Voter Registration Act - Amends the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to: (1) repeal the requirement for States to provide for voter registration by mail; (2) require applicants registering to vote to provide certain additional information; (3) permit States to remove certain registrants from the official list of eligible voters; (4) permit States to require voters to produce additional information prior to receiving a ballot for voting; and (5) repeal the requirement that States permit registrants who have changed residence and now have a new polling place, but are still within the same registrar's jurisdiction and the same congressional district, to vote at the polling place for their former address.