10/9 FEC Meeting: Citizens United, McCutcheon & More

Late Wednesday, the FEC posted several drafts of rules to be considered at a meeting Thursday.  One of the drafts implements the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, removing prohibitions on labor and corporate spending on independent political activity; it would also allow corporations and labor organizations to contribute to others engaging in independent political activity, including SuperPACs and regular PACs with separate independent-expenditure accounts.

Another implements the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon, removing the aggregate limits on contributing to candidates, party committees, and PACs.  Still another announces an upcoming rulemaking to consider further refinement in light of McCutcheon, including potential adjustments to existing earmarking, affiliation, and disclosure rules to help prevent circumvention of the existing base limits on contributions.

The FEC also released two draft advisory opinions.  The first is an AO requested by the DNC and RNC about whether they can fundraise separately for the 2016 presidential nomination conventions, in addition to limits on donations to the party committees generally.  Here’s the “yes” option; here’s the “no” option.

The second is an AO requested by the two dueling Randolph-Macon College professors looking to replace Eric Cantor, about whether the college can continue paying fringe benefits while the candidates are on leave.  For those convinced that the FEC is hopelessly divided based on rank partisanship for every possible issue (I’ve got doubts), I look forward to a 3-3 deadlock with the 3 Republican nominees voting to allow the college to pay the Republican candidate, and a 3-3 deadlock with the 3 Democratic nominees voting to allow the same college to pay the Democratic candidate.

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