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Stand by Your First Amendment Values- Not Your Ad: The Court\u27s Wrong Turn in McConnell v. FEC

By Nicholas Stephanopoulos


Few recently passed laws have attracted as much attention as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), which banned soft money contributions to political candidates and prohibited corporate and union advertising in the weeks leading up to an election. One of the BCRA\u27s most important and novel sections, however-§ 311, Clarity Standards for Identification of Sponsors of Election-Related Advertising-has largely escaped comment, both when the bill was passed and when its constitutionality was adjudicated in the courts. Section 311 makes two major changes to existing law on the disclosure of the sponsor of campaign communication. First, it expands the categories of campaign communication for which it must be disclosed who funded and authorized the communication. Previously, only communications \u22expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate\u22 or soliciting contributions were required to reveal their sponsors. Under the BCRA, however, both electioneering communicationthat is, advertisements referring to a clearly identified candidate for federal office, issued within sixty days of an election-and all advertising by political committees, must also follow these disclosure requirements

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2015
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