Summary: H.R.20 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.20. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (01/21/2015)

Government By the People Act of 2015

Amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to allow a refundable credit of 50% of qualified congressional House campaign contributions paid or incurred during the taxable year (contributions of cash by an individual to a House candidate or a political committee established and maintained by a national political party if the contribution is not prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 [FECA], to be known as "My Voice Federal" contributions).

Directs the Government by the People Oversight Commission, established by this Act, to launch a pilot program under which it shall select three eligible states to operate a voucher pilot program.

Requires a state under a voucher pilot program to provide each qualified individual during the election cycle, upon his or her request, with a "My Voice Voucher" worth $50, which will be assigned a routing number. Authorizes the individual to submit the My Voice Voucher to qualified federal election candidates, allocating a portion of its value in $5 increments. Requires the Commission to pay any candidate who transmits a My Voice Voucher that portion of its value which the individual allocated to the candidate. Considers this transaction a contribution by the individual to the candidate for purposes of FECA.

Requires a state operating a voucher pilot program also to permit an individual to revoke a My Voice Voucher within two days after submitting it to a candidate. Requires such a state to establish a commission or designate an existing entity to oversee and implement the program in the state, except that no such commission or entity may be composed of elected officials.

Amends FECA with respect to:

  • benefits for participating House of Representatives candidates;
  • Federal Election Commission (FEC) payments to such candidates;
  • candidate use of payments;
  • qualified small dollar contributions, expenditures, and fundraising requirements;
  • certification of participating candidates;
  • campaign administration;
  • prevention of the unnecessary spending of public funds;
  • establishment of the Freedom From Influence Fund in the Treasury and of a Government by the People Oversight Commission in the FEC;
  • remittal of unspent funds to the Freedom From Influence Fund after an election;
  • eligibility of participating candidates for additional payments;
  • civil penalties for violation of contribution and expenditure requirements;
  • a Commission action appeals process; and
  • contributions and expenditures by multicandidate and political party political committees on behalf of participating candidates.

Prohibits a certified participating candidate's authorized committee from establishing a joint fundraising committee with any political committee other than another authorized committee of the candidate.

Prohibits a certified participating candidate from establishing, financing, maintaining, or controlling a leadership PAC (political action committee).

Prohibits use of contributions by a participating candidate for any purposes other than an election campaign.

Revises bundler disclosure requirements to repeal a specified exception and so require disclosure of persons who provided bundled contributions to the reporting committee.

Amends FECA to empower the FEC to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to appeal a civil action to enforce the Act.

Requires all political committee designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA to be filed: (1) directly with the FEC; and (2) in electronic form accessible by computers. Reduces to 24 hours after their receipt the deadline for the FEC to make designations, statements, reports, or notifications available to the public in the FEC office and on the Internet.

Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to set a station's lowest unit price for preemptible use as the charge for a broadcast by the national committee of a political party for an affiliated candidate.

Authorizes the FEC to revoke a broadcast station license or construction permit only for at least three willful failures to allow reasonable access to, or to permit purchase of reasonable amounts of time for the use of, a broadcasting station or cable system by a legally qualified candidate for federal office.

Amends the IRC to allow taxpayers to designate overpayments of tax for contribution to the Freedom From Influence Fund.