[JURIST] The Federal Election Commission, [official website] has voted to change the way recounts are funded, making them subject to federal election fundraising limits rather than being exempt from those as they have been for nearly 30 years. The new advisory opinion [Draft A text, PDF] adopted 4-2 comes 5 weeks before the November 7 mid-term elections, in a year fraught with potential challenges to voting results due to a plethora of close congressional contests.
The opinion reinterprets 1977 regulations [text, PDF] stating money raised to pay for recounts and legal challenges was not covered by campaign finance restrictions on contributions or expenditures. Candidates and parties are still barred from raising money from labor unions, corporations or foreign nationals. The contentious issue was whether a 2002 campaign finance law that eliminated unrestricted, unlimited giving to political parties altered those 1977 regulations. Commission Chairman Michael Toner and Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky, both Republicans, voted against the opinion, saying that the campaign finance law applied only to the election, not to recounts. AP has more.