a political committee which (i) has been registered under section 303 [USCS § 433] for a period of not less than 6 months, which has received contributions from more than 50 persons, and, except for any State political party organization, has made contributions to 5 or more candidates for Federal office.
2 U.S.C. § 441a(a)(4).
(A) a general, special, primary, or runoff election; (B) a convention or caucus of a political party which has authority to nominate a candidate; (C) a primary election held for the selection of delegates to a national nominating convention of a political party; and (D) a primary election held for the expression of a preference for the nomination of individuals for election to the office of President.
2 U.S.C. § 431(1)(A)-(D). This means, for instance, that the contribution limit of $5000 per multicandidate political committee to any given candidate per election allows a committee to give $5000 in the primary and another $5000 in the general election and in any special or runoff election that includes that candidate. See id.; 2 U.S.C. § 441a(a).
For purposes of the limitations imposed by this section, all contributions made by a person, either directly or indirectly, on behalf of a particular candidate, including contributions which are in any way earmarked or otherwise directed through an intermediary or conduit to such candidate, shall be treated as contributions from such person to such candidate. The intermediate or conduit shall report the original source and the intended recipient of such contribution to the Commission and to the intended recipient.
[C]ampaign finance reform keeps receding, and some contrarians say that Emilys List is one of the reasons. Thats near-heresy: Emilys List, a political action committee that bundles donations from backers interested in promoting Democratic women in politics, has done more than any group to put womens campaigns on an equal financial level with mens. Still, nearly any discussion of finance reform inevitably raises the question of what such reform would do to Emily.
Collins, Why The Women, supra, at 54; Schwinn, supra note 143, at A10. Schwinn describes the bundling loophole as a loophole that means big bucks for women candidates and others. Schwinn, supra note 143, at A10.
[F]inance or election report shows that the sum of a candidates expenditures or obligations, or funds raised or borrowed, whichever is greater, alone or in conjunction with independent expenditures reported under section 1019, exceeds the distribution amount under subsection 8, the commission shall issue immediately to any opposing Maine Clean Election Act candidate an additional amount equivalent to the reported excess. Matching funds are limited to 2 times the amount originally distributed under subsection 8, paragraph A or C, whichever is applicable.
Sometime this month, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill is going to come up in the Senate. Its supporters have the votes to win, in theory. But there are pitfalls. A theoretically sympathetic senator could offer an amendment that eases the rules for unions, or Emilys List, or the Christian Coalition, and suddenlypoison pill!the whole fragile coalition of support cracks. And when people read about it the next day, looking to see whom they ought to blame, theyll see a phrase like express advocacy or coordinated expenditure restrictions and find their eyes sliding over to the weather report. There are senators committed to voting for the bill who would secretly like to see it die.
Id. And ultimately, at least in 2001, it appears as though Collinss remarks have proven to be prophetic: The House version of McCain-Feingold stalled in that chamber initially because of an anti-reform procedural maneuver. See Alison Mitchell, Campaign Measure Shelved After Fierce Fight on Rules, N.Y. Times, July 13, 2001, at A1 [hereinafter Campaign Measure Shelved]. The terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 further sidelined the measure. See David S. Broder, Some Action on Hill Delayed to Avoid Divisive Debates, Wash. Post, Sept. 24, 2001, at A1. However, the collapse of Enron, a company that donated a significant amount of money to both political parties, brought the measure back to life in early 2002. See Alison Mitchell, Enrons Woes Revive Debate on Campaigns, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 22, 2002, at A16 [hereinafter Enrons Woes].
We do believe in campaign finance reform . . . . Soft money has been used to drown out the voices of our constituents and people like them across the country. But the question is whether a soft-money ban that takes money away from get-out-the-vote efforts is almost suicidal for the black caucus.
Hosler, supra note 221, at 1A (quoting Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md.). Dissenters to this logic argue that a ban on soft money would return politics to a more grass-roots approach and would increase the clout of poorer and minority districts by reducing the power of big-money politics. See Donna Brazile, Soft Moneys Scanty Leftovers, N.Y. Times, July 11, 2001, at A17; Fears, supra note 221, at A1. In fact, Rep. Wynn took criticism for his stance against Shays-Meehan and for co-sponsoring legislation with Rep. Ney that would limit but not completely ban soft money. See Hosler, supra note 221, at 1A. Hosler notes, Some of Rep. Albert R. Wynns colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus say they are troubled, even angry, that he would work to defeat what they see as a crucial political reform. Id.