The 'Major Purpose' Test: Distinguishing Between Election-Focused and Issue-Focused Groups

17 Pages Posted: 4 May 2004  

Edward B. Foley

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Abstract

This essay addresses a constitutional question unresolved by McConnell v. FEC, a question crucial to the current controversy over the regulation of non-party interest groups. The question is whether it is permissible to limit the contributions that non-party groups receive from individual donors to a specified amount - for example, $5000 per donor per year - when any electioneering activities undertaken by the group are conducted independently from the activities of political parties and their candidates. Drawing on the foundational precedent of Buckley v. Valeo, this essay argues that the answer to this constitutional question should turn on whether the non-party group is either election-focused or issue-focused in the predominant portion of its activities.

Keywords: buckley, elections, campaign finance, mcconnell, First Amendment

JEL Classification: D72, K23

Suggested Citation

Foley, Edward B., The 'Major Purpose' Test: Distinguishing Between Election-Focused and Issue-Focused Groups. Northern Kentucky Law Review, Vol. 31, 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=535744

Edward B. Foley (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-292-4288 (Phone)
614-292-2035 (Fax)

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