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Edward Still: Campaign Finance

My own articles and papers on campaign finance issues are found on the Writings page.

The Federal Election Campaign Act was amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). Most provisions of the BCRA went into effect on 6 November 2002.  New contribution limits take effect on 1 January 2003.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has adopted regulations for the BCRA, including the following:

  • Prohibited and Excessive Contributions: Non-Federal Funds or Soft Money  [PDF]
  • Electioneering Communications  [PDF]
  • Contribution Limitations and Prohibitions  [PDF]
  • Disclaimers, Fraudulent Solicitation, Civil Penalties, and Personal Use of Campaign Funds [PDF]
  • Coordinated and Independent Expenditures --  [PDF]
  • Consolidated Reporting -- [PDF]
  • Millionaire Opponent, interim rules -- [PDF]

For good sources of research on campaign finance (on both sides of the BCRA debate), go to the websites of 

To find out who got how much from whom, go to

Some groups are interested in decreasing the cost of campaigns by requiring broadcast stations to make time available at reduced or no cost to candidates. For more details on this, see the website of the Alliance for Better Campaigns.

Another proposal for campaign reform is public financing of elections. Several states have so-called “clean money” programs.  For more information on these programs go to

Political groups are usually exempt from federal taxation, and some groups must register with the IRS and report several times a year on their income and expenses. Basically, most groups that disclose their campaign receipts and contributions to a state agency no longer have to file reports with the Internal Revenue Service. There are some exceptions. You may click on these links for a copy of the bill and the law it amended. The IRS fact sheet on the new law is here.


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