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Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold)

Bill Number: HR-2356

Public Law Number: 107-155

Disposition: 2002-Mar-27
Enacted - Signed by the President

Once the president signs a bill, it becomes a law.

Full title...
An act to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide bipartisan campaign reform

Click to view...
Bill Text (Reading difficulty: Hard)

Sponsor & Key Contributors
Christopher Shays

Related Issues...
Understanding Election Campaign Financing

Related Court Cases
(2014) McCutcheon v. FEC
(2010) Citizens United v. FEC

Other names for this bill...

Although this bill was introduced in the House of Representatives, it is commonly referred to as the McCain-Feingold bill. The original bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain and Russ Feingold was replaced by this one.

Major provisions of this bill...

This bill created many detailed restrictions on both hard money and soft money contributions. Here are some of the ones that affect our discussion of the issue of campaign financing...

For hard money...

o Increased the amount an individual could contribute to a candidate in a federal election. Individuals would be allowed to contribute $2,000 per candidate for an election (primaries and general elections count as separate elections).

o Increased the total amount an individual could give to all candidates combined to $95,000.

Both of those limits are adjusted for inflation, leading to today's current limits.

For soft money...

o Prohibited candidates from raising money for organizations (such as Political Action Committees) that work to influence an election.

o Effectively banned unions and corporations from funding the broadcast of political advertisements - referred to as electioneering communications - within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary.

Other Provisions...

This bill also made it a requirement that candidates for federal office include in TV and radio ads a statement identifying themselves and saying they approved the ad.

Supreme Court decisions have weakened this bill

2010 Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court decision
Invalidated the restriction that corporations could not fund the broadcast of political advertisements within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary.

2014 McCutcheon v. FEC Supreme Court decision
Invalidated the restriction on aggregate limits. The other restrictions remain in place.

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