Clerk session vote number: 88
Description: 527 Reform Act
Bill summary: 527 Reform Act of 2005 - (Sec. 2) Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to include in the definition of political committee any applicable 527 organization. (Thus subjects such organizations to the requirements of the Act. A 527 organization, as defined by section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, is an organization, not controlled by or involving a particular candidate for office, whose function is to influence or attempt to influence the selection, nomination, election, or
appointment of any individual to any federal, state, or local public office or office in a political organization, or the election of presidential or vice-presidential electors, whether or not such individual or electors are selected, nominated, elected, or appointed.) Requires the organization to give notice to the Secretary of the Treasury under section 527 that it is to be treated as an organization described in section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.
Excepts from the definition of 527 organization under FECA a committee, club, association, or other group of persons (organization) which: (1) is a 527 organization under the Internal Revenue Code; (2) is organized, operated, and makes disbursements exclusively for paying certain tax-deductible business expenses or expenses of a certain kind of political newsletter fund; (3) consists solely of candidates for or individuals holding state or local office, but only if the organization refers only to one or more non-federal candidates or applicable state or local issues in all of its voter drive activities, without reference to any federal candidate; or (4) whose election or nomination activities relate exclusively to elections where no candidate for federal office appears on the ballot, or to influencing the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of one or more candidates to non-federal offices or individuals to non-elected offices, or influencing one or more applicable state or local issues.
Denies the treatment of any such organization as meeting such exclusivity requirement if it makes disbursements aggregating more than $1,000 for: (1) a public communication that promotes, supports, attacks, or opposes a clearly identified candidate for federal office during the one year period ending on the date of the general election for the office sought by the candidate (or if a runoff election is held with respect to such general election, on the date of the runoff election); and (2) any voter drive activity during a calendar year, except a drive in only one state with no reference to federal office candidates.
(Sec. 3) Sets forth rules for allocation and funding for certain expenses relating to federal and non-federal activities, including payments of 100% or 50% from a federal account in several specified circumstances. Limits individual donations to a political committee that is a separate segregated fund or nonconnected committee to an annual aggregate of $25,000 for its qualified non-federal account.
(Sec. 4) Repeals the limit on the amount of party expenditures on behalf of candidates in general elections. Raises the limits for House and Senate candidates facing wealthy opponents.
(Sec. 6) Prescribes special rules for actions brought for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge the constitutionality of any provision of this Act. Requires such an action to be filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and to be heard by a three-judge panel. Makes any final decision by the panel reviewable only by the U.S. Supreme Court. Authorizes Members of Congress to: (1) bring an action challenging the constitutionality of this Act; and (2) intervene in any action in which the constitutionality of any provision of this Act is raised. Applies such special rules only to actions brought on or before December 31, 2008.
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Bill titles: To amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to clarify when organizations described in section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 must register as political committees, and for other purposes.
Links for more info on the vote: congress.gov