Campaign Finance Rules That Regulate 527 Spending Overturned

Media Releases

U.S. PIRG Education Fund

WASHINGTON, September 18 — A federal appellate court panel of 3 judges has overturned campaign finance rules that limit how some political action committees (PAC’s) spend money in campaigns. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington said that the regulations limit free speech rights to 527s.

Lisa Gilbert, U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s Democracy Advocate commented, “Today’s decision in Emily’s List vs. the Federal Election Commission turns back the clock, and makes it far easier for outside political groups to raise large amounts of funding and air TV ads for or against candidates for Congress or the Presidency.”

The FEC originally enacted the regulations in 2005, after concerns were raised about the amount of unlimited “soft money” contributions used to fund attacks in the 2004 election.

To rein in 527 spending, the FEC limited the amount PAC’s spend for federal candidate activities to “hard money” contributions, or to no more than $5000 when a 527 indicates the funds will be used to attack or advocate for a candidate.

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U.S. PIRG is the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups. State PIRGs are non-profit, non-partisan public interest advocacy organizations. For more on Campaign Finance Reform, click here.