There is one summary. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in Senate (01/19/1999)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Control of Congressional Campaign Spending

Subtitle A: Senate Election Campaign spending Limits

and Benefits

Subtitle B: General Provisions

Title II: Independent Expenditures

Title III: Expenditures

Subtitle A: Personal Funds; Credit

Subtitle B: Soft Money of Political Parties

Subtitle C: Soft Money of Persons Other Than Political

Parties

Title IV: Contributions

Title V: Authorities and Duties of the Federal Election

Commission

Title VI: Miscellaneous

Title VII: Effective Dates; Authorizations

Congressional Election Campaign Spending Limit and Reform Act of 1999 - Title I: Control of Congressional Campaign Spending - Subtitle A: Senate Election Campaign Spending Limits and Benefits - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to make a Senate candidate eligible for FECA benefits if the candidate: (1) files a primary election eligibility declaration; (2) files a general election eligibility certification and declaration; and (3) meets certain contribution and expenditure limits.

Limits Senate primary expenditures for a candidate (or his or her authorized committees) to the lesser of: (1) 67 percent of the general election expenditure limit; or (2) $2.75 million. Limits runoff expenditures.

Sets a threshold contribution amount which triggers application of such primary and runoff limits.

Limits the use by a Senate candidate (or authorized committees), during an entire election cycle, of the candidate's personal (or family) funds (including debt).

Limits aggregate general election expenditures by an eligible Senate candidate (or authorized committees) to the lesser of: (1) $5.5 million; or (2) the greater of $1.2 million, or $400,000 plus 30 cents times the voting age population up to 4 million and 25 cents times the voting age population over 4 million.

Exempts from the general election expenditure limit qualified accounting or legal expenditures.

Entitles eligible Senate candidates to certain broadcast media rates, and in certain circumstances, payments compensating for independent expenditures and excess expenditures on behalf of the candidate's opponent.

Requires the Federal Election Commission (Commission) to certify an eligible Senate candidate within 48 hours after his or her application to the Secretary of the Senate.

Requires the Commission to examine and audit, for FECA compliance, the campaign accounts of all candidates in five percent of the elections to the Senate in which there was an eligible Senate candidate on the ballot. Requires candidates to refund to the Commission any excess payments or expenditures. Sets civil penalties for excess expenditures and contributions.

Provides for judicial review of Commission actions and requires Commission reports to the Senate after each general election.

Requires closed captioning for eligible Senate candidates' television broadcasts.

Authorizes reduced payments to an eligible Senate candidate under circumstances of insufficient funds.

(Sec. 102) Sets forth reporting requirements for Senate candidates not eligible for FECA benefits. Requires reports to the Secretary within two days after aggregate contributions have been received and aggregate expenditures have been made or obligated to be made in excess of FECA limits.

Requires any candidate for the Senate who, during the election cycle, expends more than the personal funds expenditure limit to report to the Secretary of the Senate within two days after expenditures have been made or loans incurred in excess of the personal funds expenditure limit.

Requires certain expenditure reports from any Senate candidate who held Federal, State, or local office during the same election cycle, and made any expenditures, before becoming a Senate candidate, that would have been treated as Senate candidate expenditures.

(Sec. 103) Requires Senate candidates ineligible for FECA benefits to place on every paid or authorized political commercial or communication the declaration: "This candidate has not agreed to voluntary campaign spending limits."

(Sec. 104) Sets forth provisions governing excess campaign funds of Senate candidates.

(Sec. 105) Sets forth a contribution limit for an eligible Senate candidate (and the candidate's authorized political committees) whose opponent fails to comply with the expenditure limits and has received contributions in excess of ten percent of the general election limits or has expended personal funds in excess of ten percent of the general election limits.

Subtitle B: General Provisions - Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require a broadcast station to make broadcast time available to all House and Senate candidates in the last 30 (currently 45) days before a primary 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. Allows Senate candidates to purchase broadcast time at 50 percent of the lowest unit rate for the 30 days before a primary or runoff election and 60 days before a general election.

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

(Sec. 112) Amends FECA to set forth reporting requirements for certain independent expenditures.

(Sec. 113) Makes certain amendments with regard to campaign advertising that includes certain requirements for printed as well as broadcast and cablecast communications.

(Sec. 114) Adds various definitions to FECA for such specified terms as "general election," "general election period," and "primary election period."

(Sec. 115) Amends Federal postal law to prohibit a Senator who is a candidate for election to any public office from making a mass mailing under the frank during the calendar year of any primary or general election for such office.

Title II: Independent Expenditures - Amends FECA to define "independent expenditure" as an expenditure by a person other than a candidate or candidate's authorized committee: (1) that is made for a communication that contains express advocacy; and (2) is made without the participation or cooperation of and without coordination with a candidate.

Defines the following terms: (1)"express advocacy"; and (2) "without the participation or cooperation of and without coordination with a candidate."

(Sec. 202) Defines "coordinated expenditure" to mean an expenditure that is made by a person other than the candidate and that is not an independent expenditure. Prohibits political party committees from making both a coordinated expenditure and an independent expenditure to the same candidate during a single election cycle. Requires political party committees to file with the Commission a certification signed by the treasurer stating whether the committee will make coordinated expenditures or independent expenditures to the candidate. Prohibits a party committee that certifies that it will make coordinated expenditures to a candidate from, in the same election cycle, making a transfer of funds to, or receiving a transfer of funds from, any other party committee that has certified that it will make independent expenditures to the candidate.

(Sec. 203) Permits qualified nonprofit corporations to make independent expenditures.

(Sec. 204) Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to provide for equal broadcast time, including notification and opportunity to purchase equal time on an independent expenditure basis.

Title III: Expenditures - Subtitle A: Personal Funds; Credit - Amends FECA to prohibit the use of contributions after the date of a general election to repay loans to a candidate (or authorized committee) by the candidate or by members of the candidate's family.

(Sec. 302) Treats as a contribution any extension of credit for goods or services relating to general political advertising of more than $1,000 for more than 60 days to candidates for Federal office (or authorized committees).

Subtitle B: Soft Money of Political Parties - Amends FECA to exclude from the definition of "contribution" the preparation and distribution, by volunteers, of materials in connection with State and local party voter registration and get-out-the-vote activities.

(Sec. 312) 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. 313) Provides for the treatment of: (1) any amount 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 is in connection with an election to Federal office as a contribution subject to certain limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements; (2) any amount to raise funds that are used, in whole or in part, in connection with such activities as an expenditure subject to certain limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements; and (3) any get-out-the-vote activity for a State and local candidate, or for a ballot measure conducted by a State, district, or local committee of a political party as an expenditure subject to certain limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements.

Limits the expenditures for which a State committee may use its State Party Grassroots Fund.

(Sec. 314) Prohibits Federal candidates and officeholders from soliciting contributions: (1) not subject to FECA; and (2) on behalf of tax-exempt organizations, if a significant portion of the activities of the organization include voter registration or get-out-the-vote activities.

(Sec. 315) 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) other specified political committees to report all receipts and disbursements in connection with a Federal election.

Subtitle C: Soft Money of Persons Other Than Political Parties - Requires that persons other than political parties who make (or obligate to make) aggregate disbursements totaling over $2,000 for specified election activities shall file a statement with the Commission within 48 hours after the disbursements or obligations are made, or in the case of disbursements or obligations that are made within 14 days of an election, on or before the 14th day before the election.

Title IV: Contributions - Prohibits certain lobbyist contributions.

(Sec. 402) Treats contributions by a dependent not of voting age as having been made by the individual on whom that dependent is a dependent.

(Sec. 403) Prohibits a candidate for Federal office from accepting, with respect to any election, any contribution from a State or local political party committee (or subordinate committee) if such contribution, when added to the total of contributions previously accepted from all such committees of that political party, would cause the total amount of contributions to exceed the relevant contribution limitation.

(Sec. 404) Makes it unlawful to use physical threat, intimidation, or taking or threatening to take other adverse action to: (1) coerce contributions or expenditures from another person; or (2) deter or prevent any person from filing a complaint, providing testimony, or otherwise cooperating with enforcement efforts under FECA; or (3) retaliate against any person who has filed a complaint, provided testimony, or otherwise cooperated with enforcement efforts under FECA.

(Sec. 405) Prohibits acceptance by a candidate of cash contributions from any one person aggregating more than $100.

Title V: Authorities and Duties of the Federal Election Commission - Authorizes the Commission to issue a regulation to require the filing of designations, statements, and reports using computers if the person has, or has reason to expect to have, aggregate contributions or expenditures in excess of a threshold amount determined by the Commission. Requires the Commission to prescribe a regulation allowing persons to file designations, statements, and reports using facsimile machines.

(Sec. 502) Increases the threshold amount to $50 with respect to reporting the identification of certain contributors and disbursements.

(Sec. 503) Authorizes the Commission to conduct random audits and investigations to ensure voluntary compliance. Extends the period during which a campaign audit of a candidate's authorized committee may be begun.

(Sec. 504) Grants authority to the Commission, to seek at any time in a proceeding, a temporary restraining order or a temporary injunction if the Commission believes there is a substantial likelihood that a violation is occurring or is about to occur.

(Sec. 505) Revises specified enforcement requirements to provide for: (1) increased monetary penalties; and (2) equitable remedies if authorized by a conciliation agreement with the Commission. Directs the Commission to establish a schedule of automatic monetary penalties for the late filing of reports.

(Sec. 506) Repeals requirements authorizing the Commission to appear in and defend against any action initiated under FECA. Replaces them with requirements authorizing the Commission to appear on its own behalf in any action related to the exercise of its statutory duties or powers in any court as a party or amicus curiae.

Revises a requirement respecting the powers of the Commission to initiate civil actions to permit the Commission to petition the Supreme Court for certiorari to review judgements or decrees entered with respect to actions in which the Commission appears.

(Sec. 507) Revises requirements concerning the referral of suspected violations to the Attorney General.

(Sec. 508) Revises certain powers of the Commission.

Title VI: Miscellaneous - Prohibits Federal candidates and officeholders from establishing, maintaining, or controlling any political committee (such as a "leadership committee") other than a principal campaign committee of the candidate, authorized committee, party committee, or other political committee designated as an authorized committee.

(Sec. 602) Directs the Commission to study and report to the Congress on the feasibility of developing a system by which persons with disabilities could vote by telephone.

(Sec. 603) Exempts certain tax-exempt organizations from specified corporate expenditure limits.

(Sec. 604) Provides that with respect to any provision of FECA that places a requirement or prohibition on any person acting in a particular capacity, any person who knowingly aids or abets the person in that capacity in violating that provision may be proceeded against as a principal in the violation.

(Sec. 605) Requires exact copies of campaign advertising that refers to a candidate's opponent to be filed with the Commission and the Secretary of State of the candidate's State.

(Sec. 606) Amends Federal postal law to prohibit a Member of Congress, during an election year, from using the franking privilege for a mass mailing from January 1 until the general election date.

(Sec. 607) Amends FECA to make it unlawful for: (1) foreign nationals to make or promise to make donations of money or other things of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, or contributions or donations to a committee of a political party; or (2) any person to solicit, receive, or accept such contributions or donations from a foreign national.

(Sec. 608) Requires that reports include a certification under penalty of perjury that the political committee has complied with foreign contribution and solicitation limitations.

Title VII: Effective Dates; Authorizations - Sets forth the general effective date of this Act.

Provides for direct, expedited appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court from any court rulings on the constitutionality of any provision of this Act or amendment made by it.