The Surprisingly Easy Case for Disclosure of Contributions and Expenditures Funding Sham Issue Advocacy
Posted: 26 Jan 2004 Last revised: 25 Jul 2013
Before the United States Supreme Court decided McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, the law related to campaign finance disclosure was a mess. As this commentary (part of a special symposium issue on the case to appear in the Election Law Journal) explains, McConnell resolved a key disclosure question, upholding the constitutionality of new disclosure rules in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) related to contributions and expenditures funding "sham issue advocacy" in candidate elections.
McConnell unfortunately left open many other important questions concerning conflicts between two earlier key Supreme Court cases discussing disclosure, Buckley v. Valeo and McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission. Even after McConnell, the constitutionality of disclosure rules in three important areas remains unclear: (1) To what extent may the government compel disclosure of a speaker's identity in face-to-face election-related communications or compel disclosure of the funder of communications on the face of election-related advertisements? (2) To what extent may the government compel disclosure of expenditures by those using modest resources? (3) To what extent may the government compel disclosure of contributions and expenditures in ballot measure campaigns? Answers to these questions will await cases post-McConnell.
Note: This is a description of the paper and not the actual abstract.
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