The 'Major Purpose' Test: Distinguishing Between Election-Focused and Issue-Focused Groups
17 Pages Posted: 4 May 2004
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: Suggested Citation