FEC says no new rules for 527 groups after federal court ruling

[JURIST] The Federal Election Commission [official website] said Wednesday that it will not appeal [press release] a ruling [PDF text; JURIST report] ordering it to either present a "reasoned explanation" for its case-by-case treatment of campaign contribution issues involving tax-exempt 527 groups [Opensecrets.org backgrounder], or to institute new rules "if necessary." The FEC voted 4-2 to explain how the FEC deals with 527 groups, which have been criticized as vehicles for political interest groups to avoid the soft-money restrictions required by the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 [FEC materials], popularly known as the McCain-Feingold law.

FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner [official profile], who has called for 527 rules [Roll Call op-ed] before, dissented in the vote, saying the lack of clear guidelines will result in uncertainty and end-runs around the McCain-Feingold reforms. Like some other Republicans, Toner supports the recategorization of 527 groups as political action committees subject to the soft-money rules. Though both parties took advantage of 527 groups during the 2004 election cycle, groups supporting Democrats spent about $266 million in 527 money, compared with $144 million spent by groups backing Republicans, according to Political Money Line. The New York Times has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.



 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.