Major Provisions of Federal Public Campaign Financing Legislation, 113th Congress

January 29, 2013

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H.R. 268 

Grassroots Democracy Act

(Sarbanes)

H.R. 269 

Fair Elections Now Act

(Yarmuth & Pingree)

H.R. 270

Empowering Citizens Act

(Price & Van Hollen)

Covered Offices

U.S. Senate and House of Representatives

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Senate and House of Representatives and President

Qualifying Requirements

House: Minimum of $50,000 in qualifying contributions between $5 and $100 from 2,000 individuals, at least half of which are residents of the candidate’s congressional district.

Senate: Minimum of $200,000 plus product of $25,000 and the number of the state’s congressional districts in qualifying contributions between $5 and $100 from a number of individuals equaling at least 2,000 plus the product of 500 and the number of the state’s congressional districts, at least half of which are state residents.

Minimum of $50,000 in qualifying contributions between $5 and $100 from a number of state residents equal to the lesser of 0.25% of the voting age population of the state or 1,500.

House: Minimum of $40,000 in qualifying contributions from at least 400 state residents, with only the first $250 of a contribution counting towards the qualification threshold.

Senate: Minimum of product of $40,000 and the number of the state’s congressional districts in qualifying contributions from a number of state residents equaling at least the product of 400 and the number of the state’s congressional districts, with only the first $250 of a contribution counting towards the qualification threshold.

President: Minimum of $25,000 from residents of each of at least 20 states, with only the first $250 counting towards the qualification threshold.

Initial Public Grant

N/A

Primary – 40% of the base amount (an amount equal to 80% of the national average of disbursements by winning House candidates in past two election cycles) for primary elections.

General – 60% of the base amount for general elections.

N/A

Matching Funds

Tier 1 – 5:1 match on donations between $5 and $100.

Tier 2 – 10:1 match on donations between $5 and $100.

5:1 match on donations of $100 or less from residents of the candidate’s state.

President – 5:1 match on donations of $250 or less.

Congressional – 5:1 match on donations of $250 or less.

Matching Fund Payment Cap

Tier 1 – 50% of the average of the 10 greatest amounts of aggregate disbursements by winning candidates during the previous election cycle.

Tier 2 – Average of the top 10 greatest amounts of aggregate disbursements by winning candidates during the previous election cycle.

300% the amount of the allocation of the initial public grant for election cycle.

President - $150 million for primary and general election.

House - $2 million per election cycle.

Senate - $10 million per election cycle.

Participation Restrictions

Tier 1 – Candidates are permitted to accept contributions greater than the matchable amount, but over 6 years the contribution limit is reduced by 80%.

Tier 2 - $100 contribution limit.

Limited to raising qualified (matchable) contributions.

Contribution limit reduced by 50% for participating candidates, to $1,250 from individual donors compared with the $2,500 from individual donors that non-participating candidates can raise.

Outside Spending

Participating candidates are eligible for an additional grant equal to the amount of qualified (matchable) contributions he/she has raised once aggregate outside spending in the race crosses a predetermined threshold.

Electioneering communications window expanded to 120 days before general election.

N/A

Spending by outside groups that is coordinated with candidates is deemed a contribution and subject to relevant limits.  Defines coordination to include: (a) formation of outside group at the suggestion, express or tacit, of candidate or agents; (b) candidates or agents assisting outside group with fundraising; (c) outside group is managed by former major employee of candidate; (d) engaging in “more than incidental communications” between campaign and outside spender about candidate’s needs or campaign activity; (e) outside group maintains professional service of any person who provides professional service campaign/candidate; (f) outside group is established or managed by or has received contribution from a member of the candidate’s immediate family.

Tax Credits and Vouchers

$25 refundable tax credit to taxpayers who make no aggregate contributions larger than $200 to a candidate or party committee.

In states selected for pilot voucher program, registered voters may designate a $50 voucher in $5 increments to federal candidates.

N/A

N/A

Miscellaneous Provisions

Non-candidate political committees and bundlers must pay annual $100 user fees.

N/A

Increases limit on coordinated activity between presidential candidate and party committee to $50 million.