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

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Introduced in Senate (03/06/1973)

Congressional Election Finance Act - States that the purpose of the Act is to provide adequate financing for candidates without regard to the private resources available to them; to prevent undue influence by the wealthy and the opportunity for such influence which diminishes public faith in the political system; to determine the degree to which present campaign expenditures are excessive; and to reduce pressures on candidates to become beholden to large contributors.

Sets forth the definitions of terms to be used in the Act.

Establishes a fund in the Treasury to be known as the Congressional Campaign Assistance Fund. Authorizes appropriations of $500,000 for such fund.

Establishes a 7-member Congressional Election Finace Board with staggered six year terms. Requires the Board to make annual fiscal and operational reports to Congress and to the President.

Requires the Board to develop appropriate forms, bookkeeping and reporting methods, and a filing and retrieval system. Requires the Board to preserve reports filed with it and keep them available for public inspection.

Directs the Board to consult with the Senate Secretary, the House Clerk, and the Comptroller General in order to utilize to the greatest extent possible the reporting, filing, and accounting procedures used to comply with the 1971 Campaign Reform Act.

Directs the Board to conduct a final audit of all subsidized campaigns and report the results. Authorizes the Board to issue rules and regulations, to require reports and records and to conduct interim reviews. Requires a hearing before any determination that a candidate has received more money from the fund than he was entitled to and must repay it. States that the statute of limitations on recouping overpayment is one year.

Directs the Board to report violations to law enforcement authorities.

Prohibits candidates who have previously failed to comply with the Act from receiving further subsidies.

Prohibits candidates from using unrestricted private funding in the primary election.

Prohibits candidates receiving primary assistance from then running in the general election outside this Act.

Requires prompt notification by the Board that a candidate has qualified and of the amount to which he will be entitled in the primary, and if he is nominated, in the general election.

Provides for the payment of the subsidy by the Board in approximately equal amounts monthly into an earmarked account in a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bank, during the period beginning at the time of notification of eligibility.

Provides for payments in unequal amounts upon request and a justification by the candidate.

Provides that, at the time a primary candidate becomes eligible to receive transfers from the fund, if no other candidate has qualified under state law, the applicant shall initially receive only one-third of the subsidy for which he is eligible in such installments. States that if prior to the filing deadline, at least one other candidate qualifies under state law, then the Board shall transfer the remaining two-thirds of the applicant's primary subsidy in similar installments.

Requires the Board, if it determines there are insufficient monies in the fund, to pay each candidate the appropriate subsidy, to so advise the candidates and the Congress with recommendation to the latter of the necessary supplemental appropriation.

Requires the Board in such cases to reduce pro rata the subsidy to each candidate and notify them of the reduction by registered mail.

Requires the candidate to establish a single campaign account and to deposit therein all subsidies and contributions received.

Limits the power to withdraw from this account to the candidate and, at most, three other individuals he designates who also each are responsible for compliance with all provisions of the Act.

Provides that a major party primary candidate for Senate nomination shall receive the greater of: 10 cent multiplied by the voting age population, or $75,000. Provides that a major party candidate in a general Senate election shall receive the greater of: 15 cents multiplied by the voting age population, or $150,000.

Provides that a major party candidate for nomination to a House seat shall receive 14 cents multiplied by the voting age population; and that a House candidate of a major party in the general election shall receive 20 cents multiplied by the voting age population.

Provides that a minor party candidate shall receive 20% of the amount of subsidy to which the corresponding major party candidate would be entitled.

States that a subsidized cnadidate may utilize private resources as specified in this Act.

Permits a major party Senate candidate to raise privately: (1) 2 cents multiplied by the voting age population for the primary election (with a $25,000 minimum); and (2) 3 cents multiplied by the voting age population in the general election (with a $50,000 minimum).

Permits majority party House candidates to raise privately: (1) 3 cents multiplied by the voting age population in the primary election; and (2) 5 cents multiplied by the voting age population in the general election.

Provides that subject to specified limitations, a minor party candidate can raise private funds such that the sum of the private funding and the subsidy to which he is entitled equals the total funds available to a corresponding major party candidate.

Limits the amount any person may contribute in any manner to an aggregate of $250 per candidate.

Requires that contributions in excess of the limits permited be returned or covered into the fund.

Prohibits contributions made in the name of another.

Makes the limitations applicable to any contribution made before the candidate files for subsidies, as long as they were used for campaign expenditures.

Prohibits pooling of the contributions permitted each person.

Provides that the total expenditures a candidate may utilize in his campaign shall not exceed the sum of the subsidy he may receive under this Act and the amount of private funds he may raise under this Act.

Permits the state central committee or national committee of a political party to underwrite all or a portion of the private financial assistance permitted subsidized candidates.

Requires the national or state committee to establish a single Party Campaign Account registered with and monitored by the Board. Provides that only contributions expressly made to this Account can be used and no other party funds may be transferred to it.

Requires a record of deposits and withdrawals from Party Campaign Accounts.

Provides that a committee may only aid its party's nominees and only in the general election.

Empowers the Board to seek to prevent actions in violation of the provisions of the Act.

Permits private persons to file complaints of such violations.

Permits the Board to make findings and issue an appropriate order. States that if the order is not complied with, the Board may institute a civil action and if the Board fails to act or to order a cessation of a violation, or to institute suit for failure to comply with an order, then the private party who filed the complaint with the Board may institute such a suit.

Permits a candidate who is receiving or has applied for subsidy to appeal Board determinations affecting his right to subsidy or the amount of subsidy, or to challenge the Board's failure to act or any other action.

Requires the Board to review the complaint and hold a prompt hearing.

Permits the aggrieved candidate to seek judicial review.

Provides that for a willful violation of the individual contribution limitations, or the overall spending limitations, or falsification of information, or misuse of federal subsidies, a person may be punished by a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than the greater of $50,000 or the full amount of subsidies received, and not less than 6 months nor more than 5 years imprisonment.

Punishes all other violations by a fine of not more than $10,000 or one year's imprisonment, or both.

Authorizes additional appropriations as needed for subsidies and as needed for administration of this Act.