Summary: H.R.5010 — 96th Congress (1979-1980)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (12/18/1979)

(Measure passed Senate, amended)

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1979 - =Title I: Amendments to Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971= - Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to revise the definitional section. Defines the term "authorized committee" as the principal campaign committee or other political committee designated to receive contributions or make expenditures for a candidate. Declares that an individual shall be considered a candidate for purposes of this Act if such individual, or an authorized representative of that individual, receives contributions or makes expenditures aggregating more than $5,000. Changes the organizational structure of the political committees by eliminating the requirement that every committee have a chairman. Vests in the treasurer of each committee exclusive authority to authorize disbursements.

Extends the period of time during which any person who receives a contribution for an authorized committee or other political committee must forward to the treasurer of such committee certain information regarding the contribution.

Revises the recordkeeping procedures to be followed by the treasurer with respect to contributions received by or on behalf of a political committee.

Requires each candidate for Federal office (other than the office of Vice President) to designate his or her principal campaign committee and other authorized committees. States that no political committee which supports or has supported more than one candidate may be designated as an authorized committee. Requires that each designation report, or statement of receipts received or disbursements made by an authorized committee, be filed with the candidate's principal campaign committee. Directs each principal campaign committee to compile and file such reports in accordance with procedures set forth in this title.

Requires each authorized campaign committee to file a statement of organization no later than ten days after designation. Requires all other committees to file such statement no later than ten days after becoming a political committee. Revises the content of the organization statement.

Stipulates that a political committee may terminate only upon the filing of a written statement stating that it will no longer receive or disburse funds, and that such committee has no outstanding debts.

Revises the section of the Act relating to the reporting of receipts and expenditures to require that each treasurer of a political committee file reports of receipts and disbursements with the Federal Elections Commission. Eliminates the requirement that each candidate must file such reports with the Commission. Revises the procedures for reporting data on receipts and expenditures by principal campaign committees, other political committees, and individuals. Raises the level above which detailed information with respect to receipts and expenditures would have to be reported from $100 to $200 for candidates and committees, and from $100 to $250 for other individuals.

Amends Title III of the Act to strike out the sections dealing with: (1) regulation of campaign advertising; (2) preservation of financial reports; (3) reporting of pledges; (4) reports to the President; (5) use of the frank; and (6) penalties for violation of the Act.

Requires any individual who at the time of his or her appointment to the Federal Election Commission is engaged in any other business, vocation, or employment to terminate or liquidate such activity no later than 90 days (previously one year) after such appointment. Prohibits any member of the Commission from delegating to any person his or her vote on any decisionmaking authority or duty vested in the Commission.

Authorizes the Commission to appear and defend against any action arising under this Act either by attorneys employed in its office or by attorneys retained on a temporary basis to represent the Commission.

Requires the Commission to answer a request by any individual for an advisory opinion within 60 days of receiving the request or within 20 days if such request is made within 60 days of an election.

Sets forth revised enforcement procedures. Requires the Commission to notify an individual alleged to have violated Federal election campaign laws: (1) upon receiving a complaint alleging such violation; (2) prior to voting on whether there is probable cause to believe the violation occurred; and (3) upon determining that there is such probable cause. Specifies the time period to be provided to allow the individual to respond to such a complaint. Requires the Commission, before voting on probable cause, to submit a brief on the issues of the case of the individual. Provides time for the individual to submit a brief in reply.

Requires an affirmative vote of four Commission members to determine that there is probable cause to believe that an individual committed a violation.

Permits persons to copy the name and address of any political committee from published committee reports to solicit contributions from such committee. Requires the Commission to publish periodic lists of authorized committees which fail to file required reports. Authorizes audits by the Commission of committees which do not meet the threshold requirements for reports under this Act only upon an affirmative vote of four Commission members. Directs the Commission to transmit for review to both Houses of Congress any proposed rule, regulation, or form. Provides for a veto of such proposals by either House.

Requires: (1) multicandidate committees to file with the Secretary of State of a State only the portion of a committee report relating to a candidate seeking election in that State; and (2) a Secretary of State to keep any candidate committee report for only two years.

Requires any communications expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate for Federal office, or soliciting any contributions for such candidate, to clearly state who financed the communication and whether it was authorized by a political committee or a candidate. Prohibits any individual who sells space in a newspaper or magazine to a candidate from charging any amount for such space that exceeds the amount charged for comparable use of such space for other purposes.

Permits excess campaign funds to be: (1) used to defray expenses incurred in connection with a candidate's duties as a holder of Federal office; (2) contributed to tax-exempt organizations; or (3) transferred without limit to any political party committee. Prohibits the conversion of such funds for the personal use of any individual who is not a member of Congress.

=Title II: Amendments to Other Laws= - Sets forth amendments and technical changes to specified Federal laws. Eliminates a provision prohibiting a Federal employee from receiving political contributions from other employees. Prohibits a Federal employee from making a contribution to his or her employer.

Increases the amount available to the national committees of major parties for their Presidential nominating conventions from $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.

Exempts the Federal Election Commission from the Senior Executive Service program.

=Title III: General Provisions= - States that the provisions of this Act are effective upon enactment except specified provisions regarding the financial reports of Presidential committees which shall be effective for elections occurring after January 1, 1981.

Directs the Commission, with assistance from the National Bureau of Standards, to conduct and submit to Congress a study on the development of voluntary engineering and procedural performance standards for voting systems used in the United States.

Requires the Commission to transmit to Congress by February 29, 1980, proposed regulations necessary for implementing the provisions of this Act. Allows either House of Congress 15 legislative days to disapprove such regulations.