Anti-Corruption Act

11.13.2012 THE AMERICAN ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT 1
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THE AMERICAN ANTI-CORRUPTION ACT
FULL PROVISIONS
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
PROVISION 1: PROHIBIT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM RAISING FUNDS FROM THE
INTERESTS THEY REGULATE AND FROM TAKING ACTIONS TO BENEFIT INTERESTS
THAT SPEND HEAVILY TO INFLUENCE THEIR ELECTIONS
Prohibit Members of Congress from fundraising from the interests they most
directly regulate.
Members of Congress may not solicit contributions, directly or indirectly, in
connection with an election for Federal office, including funds for any Federal election
activity, from a lobbyist, lobbyist client, a parent or subsidiary of a lobbyist client, or
any individual who engages in or directly supervises one or more individuals who
engage in lobbying activities on behalf of such lobbyist, lobbyist client, or parent or
subsidiary of a lobbyist client, that the Member knows has made a lobbying contact,
as that term is defined by the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, as amended, 2.
U.S.C. § 1602(8),1 with the Member or his or her congressional office; with another
Member or their congressional office with whom the Member serves on a Committee
or Subcommittee or any other of division of the House or Senate if such lobbying
contact concerns matters pending before such Committee, Subcommittee, or division
of the House or Senate; or with any official or employee of any such congressional
1 Under 2. U.S.C.A. § 1602(8), the term “lobbying contact” means any oral or written communication (including an electronic
communication) to a covered executive branch official or a covered legislative branch official that is made on behalf of a client with
regard to– (i) the formulation, modification, or adoption of Federal legislation (including legislative proposals); (ii) the formulation,
modification, or adoption of a Federal rule, regulation, Executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States
Government; (iii) the administration or execution of a Federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration
of a Federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license); or (iv) the nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to
confirmation by the Senate.”
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Committee, Subcommittee, or other division of the House or Senate, during the
previous two years. Members may, however, solicit contributions from such
lobbyists, lobbyist clients, and covered associates if the Member soliciting such
contributions recuses himself from taking any action, including markups of legislation,
or engaging in casework, or constituent service of any kind, of particular benefit to the
lobbyist, lobbyist client, or covered associate for a period of two years from the date
of the solicitation. If a Member of Congress that solicited such funds during the
preceding two years, but not including any date before the enactment of this
provision, then the Member must either (1) disgorge such contribution(s) by refunding
them to the donors or donating them to charity or (2) recuse himself from taking any
action, including participating in markups of legislation or engaging in casework or
constituent service of any kind, of particular benefit to the lobbyist, lobbyist client, or
covered associate for a period of two years from the date of such solicitation.
Prohibit Members of Congress from taking actions to benefit special interests that
provide them with contributions or spend heavily to influence their elections
Lobbyists and entities that lobby Congress: A Member of Congress may not take
any action in any Committee, Subcommittee, or other division of the House or
Senate, including markups of legislation or casework or constituent service of any
kind, of particular benefit to a lobbyist client, as that term is defined in 2 U.S.C. §
1602(2), or the parent or subsidiary of a lobbyist client if such lobbyist, lobbyist client,
parent or subsidiary of a lobbyist client, or any individual who engages in or directly
supervises one or more individuals who engage in lobbying activities on behalf of
such lobbyist, lobbyist client, or parent or subsidiary of a lobbyist client have, in the
aggregate, directly or indirectly contributed or pledged or promised to contribute
$50,000 or more in the aggregate to the Member’s campaign committee or
leadership PAC in the previous year, or who have, in the aggregate, indirectly or
directly spent in the previous year or have pledged or promised to spend, $100,000
or more on electioneering communications or independent expenditures in support of
the Member’s campaign or in opposition to a Member’s opponent or in contributions
to organizations, including political committees, that engage in or pledge or promise
to engage in electioneering communications or independent expenditures in support
of the Member’s campaign or in opposition to a Member’s opponent.
PROVISION 2: LIMIT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND PROHIBIT CERTAIN
FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES BY LOBBYISTS, LOBBYIST CLIENTS, AND INDIVIDUALS
INVOLVED IN LOBBYING EFFORTS
Limit to $500 per calendar year the amount that a lobbyist, lobbyist client, and any individual
who engages in or directly supervises one or more individuals who engage in lobbying
activities on behalf of a lobbyist or lobbyist client may contribute to any single federally
registered political committee, including candidates committees. This limit shall continue to
apply for one year after an individual is no longer a lobbyist, lobbyist client, or an individual
who engages in or directly supervises one or more individuals who engage in lobbying
activities on behalf of a lobbyist or lobbyist client.
Prohibit lobbyists, lobbyist clients, and individuals who engage in or directly supervise one or
more individuals who engage in lobbying activities on behalf of a lobbyist or lobbyist client
from soliciting or coordinating funds in connection with an election for Federal office, including
funds for any Federal election activity, and also including the contribution of Tax Rebate
funds, except that such individuals may solicit and coordinate contributions from their
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immediate family members.2 This prohibition shall continue to apply for one year after an
individual is no longer a lobbyist, lobbyist client, or an individual who engages in or directly
supervises one or more individuals who engage in lobbying activities on behalf of a lobbyist
or lobbyist client.
PROVISION 3: CLOSE THE REVOLVING DOOR
Extend the existing revolving door limitations applicable to Members of Congress and
congressional staff to 7 years for former Members, and 5 years for former congressional
staffers who are either (1) paid at a rate of 75% or more of a Member’s salary, or (2) whose
duties are not primarily secretarial in nature.
PROVISION 4: PROHIBIT CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE PACS, LOBBYISTS,
AND COVERED ASSOCIATES OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTRACTORS
Amend 2 U.S.C.A. § 441c(a) to state the following (inserted text underlined):
441c. Contributions by government contractors
(a) Prohibition. It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) Who enters into any contract with the United States or any department or agency
thereof, or a lobbyist or an individual who engages in or directly supervises one or more
individuals who engage in lobbying activities on behalf of such person, either for the
rendition of personal services or furnishing any material, supplies, or equipment to the
United States or any department or agency thereof or for selling any land or building to the
United States or any department or agency thereof, if payment for the performance of such
contract or payment for such material, supplies, equipment, land, or building is to be made
in whole or in part from funds appropriated by the Congress, at any time between the
commencement of negotiations for the later of two years following (A) the completion of
performance under; or (B) the termination of negotiations for, such contract or furnishing of
material, supplies, equipment, land, or buildings, directly or indirectly to make any contribution
of money or other things of value, or to promise expressly or impliedly to make any
such contribution to any political party, committee, or candidate for public office or to any
person for any political purpose or use; or
(2) knowingly to solicit any such contribution from any such person for any such
purpose during any such period.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE
PROVISION 5: APPLY THE EXISTING CONTRIBUTION LIMITS THAT APPLY TO PACS TO
SUPER PACS
Amend Section 315(a) of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. § 441(a)) by
adding at the end the following new paragraph: “(9) For purposes of the limitations imposed
by paragraphs (1)(C), (2)(C), and (3)(B) on the amount of contributions which may be made
by any person to a political committee, a contribution made to a political committee which
accepts donations or contributions that do not comply with the contribution or source
prohibitions under this Act (or made to any account of a political committee which is
established for the purpose of accepting such donations or contributions) shall be treated in
the same manner as a contribution made to any other political committee to which such
paragraphs apply.”
2 The term “immediate family member” means, a spouse, partner, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, half-brother, sister, halfsister,
father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandparent, and the spouses of such persons.
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PROVISION 6: EACH REGISTERED VOTER SHALL RECEIVE, ON AN BIENNIAL BASIS, A
$100 TAX REBATE THAT THEY MAY USE TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS TO QUALIFYING
FEDERAL CANDIDATES, POLITICAL PARTIES, AND POLITICAL COMMITTEES
SEC 1. TAX REBATES.
(a) REBATES PROVIDED TO REGISTERED VOTERS TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS TO QUALIFYING
FEDERAL CANDIDATES, POLITICAL PARTY COMMITTEES, AND POLITICAL COMMITTEES.—
(1) Each individual certified to be a registered voter by the chief state election official
of a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of
Puerto Rico, or a territory or possession of the United States that is a complying state
shall receive a Tax Rebate on an biennial basis. Such rebates shall be in such form
as the Department of the Treasury may prescribe and shall be issued and furnished
by the Department of the Treasury after January 1 and before February 15 of each
odd-numbered calendar year.
(2) An individual who becomes a registered voter after January 1 of an oddnumbered
calendar year may provide the Department of the Treasury with proof of
such registration and such other information as deemed appropriate by Department
of the Treasury and shall be issued a Tax Rebate within 30 days of providing
adequate proof of registration. Individuals shall be given the ability, if they so choose,
to receive their Tax Rebate in electronic form.
(3) The total amount of Tax Rebate funds that may be redeemed in any given twoyear
election cycle shall not exceed $7.5 billion.
(4) For purpose of paragraph (1)—
(A) The term “Tax Rebate” means a certificate redeemable through a
qualified internet based platform or at a United States Post Office valued
initially at $100.
(B) The term “complying state” means a state, district, commonwealth,
territory, or possession of the United States that is determined by the Federal
Election Commission and certified by the Federal Election Commission to the
Department of the Treasury to be in compliance with the requirements of
Section 1973gg-6 of the National Voter Registration Act, and such other
requirements deemed appropriate by the Federal Election Commission.
(C) The term “chief state election official” shall be the officer or employee
designated under Section 1973gg-8 of the National Voter Registration Act to
be responsible for coordination of responsibilities under such Act.
(b) CONTRIBUTION OF TAX REBATES.—
(1) Each individual who has been furnished a Tax Rebate may redeem such rebate
through an Internet based platform established by the Department of the Treasury, at
a United States Post Office, via mail, or through a qualified Internet based platform
that will enable individuals furnished with rebates to make one or more contributions
to qualified federal candidates, political party committees, and political committees,
or towards grants provided for in subsection (d)(2).
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(2) For purposes of paragraph (1)—
(A) The term “Internet based platform” and “qualified Internet based platform”
shall mean an Internet-based website, application, or similar Internet-based
portal certified by the Department of the Treasury to—
(i) have adequate safeguards to prevent fraud and to not allow more
than one redemption of a single Tax Rebate; and
(ii) to enable Tax Rebates to be contributed anonymously to qualified
federal candidates, political party committees, and political
committees, but where a contribution is made anonymously, the
donor may be asked whether he or she is willing to be contacted by
the recipient qualified federal candidate, political party committee, or
political committee; and
(iii) allow an individual who makes a contribution of Tax Rebate funds
to revoke such contribution within 48 hours.
(B) The term “qualified federal candidates, political party committees, and
political committees” shall mean a federal candidate, political party
committee, or political committee, as those terms are defined by the Federal
Election Campaign Act, as amended that—
(i) is registered with the Federal Election Commission; and
(ii) limits the contributions it receives after the date of enactment of
this legislation to exclusively any one or combination thereof of—
(I) Tax Rebates;
(II) Contributions from individuals not prohibited from making
contributions under the Federal Election Campaign Act, as
amended, of no more than $500 per election; and
(III) Political party committees and political committees that
are funded exclusively by Tax Rebates and contributions from
individuals not prohibited from making contributions under the
Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended, of no more than
$500 per election; and
(iii) makes no expenditures after the date of enactment of this
legislation during the election cycle of the candidate, or during the
two-year biennial election cycle in the case of political party
committees and political committees, from any amounts other than
from funds identified in subsection (ii).
(c) DISQUALIFICATION AND REPAYMENT OF TAX REBATES.—
(1) If a qualified federal candidate, political party committee, or political committee
becomes disqualified from receiving Tax Rebate funds by virtue of knowingly
accepting and failing to promptly return amounts contributed in excess of $500, such
federal candidate, political party committee, or political committee shall return such
Tax Rebate funds, or provide the equivalent monetary value of such funds, to the
Department of the Treasury.
(2) The Department of the Treasury will notify individuals whose Tax Rebate
contributions were returned to the Department of the Treasury of such return, and
provide such individuals with the ability to contribute such returned Tax Rebate to
other qualified federal candidates, political party committees, and political
committees.
(3) Returned Tax Rebate funds that are not able to be returned to an individual shall
be allocated in the same manner as expired Tax Rebate funds.
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(4) For purposes of this subsection, a contribution shall be considered to have been
promptly returned if it the political committee’s treasurer uses best efforts to discover
that the contribution is in excess of $500, and the contribution is refunded within thirty
days after the treasurer discovers that the contribution is in excess of the $500
threshold. If the political committee does not have sufficient funds to refund the
amount of the contribution that is in excess of $500 within 30 days of when the
contribution is discovered to be in excess of $500, the political committee shall make
the refund from the next funds it receives.
(d) EXPIRATION OF TAX REBATES AND ALLOCATION OF UNUSED TAX REBATES.—
(1) Each Tax Rebate shall expire on December 31 of the even numbered year
immediately following the year in which Tax Rebate funds were first made available
for that two-year election cycle.
(2) Expired Tax Rebate funds shall be used by the Department of Treasury to
provide grants for the purposes stated in 42 U.S.C.A. § 15301(b).3 Such grants shall
be made in accordance with procedures established by the Department of Treasury
in cooperation with the United States Election Assistance Commission.
(e) REPEAL OF PARTY COORDINATED EXPENDITURE LIMITS FOR QUALIFIED POLITICAL PARTY
COMMITTEES.—
Section 441a(d) of The Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended, is amended by
inserting after section 441a(d)(4) the following new section:
(5) The limitations contained in paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of this subsection shall
not apply to a national committee of a political party and a State committee of a
political party, including any subordinate committee of a State committee, that is
qualified to receive Tax Rebate funds.
(f) INCREASE IN TAX REBATE BASED ON INCREASES IN PRICE INDEX.—
(1)
(A) At the beginning of each odd-numbered calendar year (commencing in
2015), as there become necessary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
of the Department of Labor, the Secretary of Labor shall certify to the
Department of the Treasury and publish in the Federal Register the percent
difference between the price index for the 12 months preceding the beginning
of such calendar year and the price index for the base period.
3 “(A) Complying with the requirements under subchapter III of this chapter; (B) Improving the administration of elections for Federal
office; (C) Educating voters concerning voting procedures, voting rights, and voting technology; (D) Training election officials, poll
workers, and election volunteers; (E) Developing the State plan for requirements payments to be submitted under subpart 1 of part
D of subchapter II of this chapter; (F) Improving, acquiring, leasing, modifying, or replacing voting systems and technology and
methods for casting and counting votes; (G) Improving the accessibility and quantity of polling places, including providing physical
access for individuals with disabilities, providing nonvisual access for individuals with visual impairments, and providing assistance
to Native Americans, Alaska Native citizens, and to individuals with limited proficiency in the English language; (H) Establishing tollfree
telephone hotlines that voters may use to report possible voting fraud and voting rights violations, to obtain general election
information, and to access detailed automated information on their own voter registration status, specific polling place locations, and
other relevant information. (2) Limitation. A State may not use the funds provided under a payment made under this section-(A) to
pay costs associated with any litigation, except to the extent that such costs otherwise constitute permitted uses of a payment under
this section; or (B) for the payment of any judgment.”
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(B) The Tax Rebate and the amounts identified in paragraphs (a)(3) and
(b)(2)(B)(ii) shall be increased by the percent difference determined under
subparagraph (A);
(C)such amount so increased shall remain in effect for the calendar year and
the following calendar year; and
(D) if the amount after adjustment under clause (B) is not a multiple of $1,
such amount shall be rounded to the nearest $1.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)—
(A) the term “price index” means the average over a calendar year of the
Consumer Price Index (all items—United States city average) published
monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and
(B) the term “base period” means the calendar year of enactment of this
provision.
(g) INCOME TAX LIABILITY.—
Part III of subchapter B of chapter 1 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by
inserting after section 139D the following new section:
“SEC. 139E. TAX REBATES.
(a) Gross income does not include the value of a Tax Rebate provided to a taxpayer
by the Department of the Treasury.”
(h) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.—
(1) There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out
the provisions of this Act.
(i) CRIMINAL PENALTIES.—
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(i) to knowingly sell or offer to sell, or to purchase or to offer to purchase, any Tax
Rebate;
(ii) to knowingly falsify or duplicate or attempt to falsify or duplicate a Tax Rebate;
(iii) to knowingly redeem or attempt to redeem a Tax Rebate that has already
been redeemed or that has expired;
(iv) to knowingly interfere with or coerce any individual in the redemption and
contribution of Tax Rebate funds.
(2) It shall be unlawful for any federal lobbyist to solicit or coordinate the contribution of Tax
Rebate funds.
PROVISION 7: REVISE THE FEC’S COORDINATION REGULATIONS
The FEC’s current coordination regulations, located at 11 C.F.R. § 109.21, permit extensive
collaboration between candidates and supposedly “independent” Super PACs.
Amend the Federal Election Campaign Act, by adding at § 431(17)(C), the following: In order
for an expenditure to be considered an independent expenditure, the organization paying for
the expenditure must act totally independently of any candidate or political party. This
includes, but is not limited to, requirements that the person making the expenditure may not
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employ or retain any individual or accept any assistance, including the solicitation of funds,
from any individual who is the candidate benefited by such expenditure, or who has, with
respect to the candidate benefited by such expenditure, within the last 5 years (1) raised
funds for the candidate; (2) been employed or retained by the candidate or candidate’s
campaign(s) or the congressional office or committee staff of a Member of Congress or the
Executive office of the President; (3) been employed or retained by a national political party
committee of the political party of the candidate; (4) been employed or retained by a vendor
employed or retained by the candidate, candidate’s campaign(s), or candidate’s party
committee of that candidate to act in a fundraising, polling, media consultant, or campaign
management capacity; or is (5) a spouse, partner, or relative of the candidate (father, mother,
sister, brother, child, first cousin, aunt, uncle) (6) a current or former business partner or
colleague of the candidate or of an employee of the candidate’s campaign. Additionally, if a
candidate publicly or privately endorses or approves of an organization’s expenditure
benefiting that candidate or any of the organization’s activities, then the expenditures of such
organization shall be deemed coordinated with such candidate.
TRANSPARENCY
PROVISION 8: PROHIBIT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM FUNDRAISING DURING
CONGRESSIONAL WORKING HOURS, AND REQUIRE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TO
DISCLOSE FUNDRAISING ACTIVITIES THEY ENGAGE IN WHILE CONGRESS IS IN
SESSION
Amend the House and Senate rules to:
Prohibit Members of Congress from engaging in political fundraising and soliciting
between 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on any day in which their House of Congress is in
session and is not adjourned or in recess for that entire day, and during any other
hours in which the Member’s House of Congress or any committee or subcommittee
thereof of which they are a member is conducting business.
Require Members of Congress to disclose to the Clerk of the House and to the
Secretary of the Senate, respectively, on a monthly basis, the Member’s fundraising
activities and solicitations that take place during any period of time in which the
prohibition on fundraising described immediately above is not in effect and the
Member’s House of Congress is in session, meaning that the Member’s House of
Congress is not in recess pursuant to concurrent resolution.4 Such disclosures shall
include the total time engaged in political fundraising as well as the date, time,
location, and a description of each separate fundraising event or solicitation
including the total amount raised at such event or from such effort.
PROVISION 9: AMEND THE LOBBYING DISCLOSURE ACT (LDA) TO EFFECTIVELY BRING
EVERYONE WHO LOBBIES OR WHO ORGANIZES, LEADS, OR ADVISES LOBBYING
EFFORTS WITHIN THE LDA DISCLOSURE PROVISIONS; ENHANCE LDA DISCLOSURE;
AND STRENGTHEN ENFORCEMENT
Summary of Changes
Triggering Lobbyist and Lobbying Firm Status
Triggering lobbyist status
4 Pursuant to U.S. Const. art. 1, § 5, cl. 4, a concurrent resolution must be passed by each House of Congress before
either House may adjourn for more than three days.
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Current law: Two requirements to trigger lobbyist status: (1) Two lobbying
contacts, and (2) 20% of time for client spent engaging in lobbying activities.
AACA: Two requirements: (1) Two lobbying contacts or providing strategic
advice to lobbying efforts or directing or supervising the provision of strategic
advice to lobbying efforts, and (2) 12 hours or more spent engaging in
lobbying activities.
Triggering lobbying form status
Current law: Employs a lobbyist.
AACA: (1) Employees, in the aggregate, make two or more lobbying
contacts on behalf of a client.
Registration Thresholds/Who Must Register and File Reports
Lobbying firm
Current law: $3,000 in lobbying income in calendar quarter.
AACA: $10,000 in lobbying income in calendar quarter.
Client of Lobbying Firm
Current law: $3,000 in lobbying expenses in calendar quarter.
AACA: $10,000 in lobbying expenses in calendar quarter.
Self-Lobbying Organization
Current law: $10,000 in lobbying expenses in calendar quarter.
AACA: $30,000 in lobbying expenses in calendar quarter.
Contents of Registration Statement
Affiliate of registrant must be disclosed
Current law: Contribute $5,000 to registrant in quarter and actively
participate in lobbying (high threshold).
AACA: Contribute $10,000 to registrant in quarter and actively participate in
lobbying or funds contributed for the purpose of furthering lobbying goals.
Also, the AACA would require the listing of affiliates to be included on the
registration (i.e., do away with option of listing a website that in turn lists
affiliates).
Contents of Quarterly Disclosure Reports
An updated list of affiliates to be included in each quarterly report.
Disclosure of the specific officials, offices, committees, or subcommittees
contacted.
Disclosure of all entities (contractors and subcontractors) employed or
retained to engage in lobbying activities, along with description of such
lobbying activities.
Disclosure of the identity of each former covered official employed or
retained by the registrant who engaged in lobbying activities on behalf of the
client, along with description of such lobbying activities.
Do away with Internal Revenue Code reporting option for lobbying expenses.
Enforcement
Require the Comptroller General to annually publish a list of noncompliant registrants
and lobbyists. Also require the Comptroller General to annually publish a list of
registrants and lobbyists that remained noncompliant for a period of one year or more
after being identified by the Comptroller General as noncompliant, as well as the
action taken against and the current status of each registrant and lobbyist identified
in such list. Any person or entity failing to come into full compliance with the
requirements of this Act within one year after being identified by the Comptroller
General as noncompliant shall be prohibited from engaging in any activities that
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would require the person or entity to be a registrant or a lobbyist for a period of 2
years.
PROVISION 10: ENHANCE TRANSPARENCY OF FUNDRAISING AND ELECTION
SPENDING
Require disclosure of bundlers of contributions
Require incumbent federal officials and candidates for federal office to disclose the
identity of any individual who is authorized by or known to the official or candidate to
collect and transmit contributions to their campaign committee or leadership PAC,
regardless of whether or not the individual is a lobbyist.
DISCLOSE Act of 2012.
Enact the most recent version of the Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on
Spending in Elections Act of 2012, S. 3369, 112th Cong. (2012).
ENFORCEMENT
PROVISION 11: MAKE THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION A MORE FUNCTIONAL
AND INDEPENDENT BODY; STRENGTHEN THE HOUSE AND SENATE ETHICS
COMMITTEES AND THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSIONAL ETHICS’ INVESTIGATIVE
POWERS; AND PROVIDE PROSECUTORS WITH THE TOOLS NECESSARY TO
EFFECTIVELY INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE PUBLIC CORRUPTION
Task Force on Federal Elections and Ethics Enforcement: Establish a Bicameral,
Bipartisan Task Force on Federal Elections and Ethics Enforcement comprised of 12
Members of Congress, with three members appointed by each of the following: Speaker of the
House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, and Senate Minority Leader. Within
one year, the Task Force shall complete an investigation and issue a report and legislative
recommendations addressing:
The policies, processes and procedures of the Federal Election Commission, including
Commission deadlock on enforcement actions; the failure of the Commission to complete
a post-Citizens United rulemaking; options for replacing the six-Member Commission with
a different governing structure, including a single administrator; requiring random audits of
political committees; and strengthening Commission enforcement powers.
The establishment of an independent and bipartisan office of congressional ethics in the
Senate similar to the Office of Congressional Ethics currently operating in the House, as
well as expanding the investigative powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics to
include, inter alia, subpoena authority and an expanded timeframe for conducting
investigations.
The Internal Revenue Service’s enforcement of the “primary purpose” tests for 501(c)
organizations.
Until the recommendations of the Task Force are enacted, the following intermediate
steps will be taken:
A seventh Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission will be appointed by
the President, by and with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate. Such
commissioner shall not, in the previous five years, have been a federally registered
lobbyist, a member of a political party, or a former employee or contractor of a
federally registered political committee, including any candidate or political party
committee.
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Except for final action of going to court or entering into an agreement, a tie vote on
investigations shall be broken by the Office of General Counsel.
Random audits of political committees by the Federal Election Commission shall be
required.
Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act of 20125: Enact the Public Corruption
Prosecution Improvements Act of 2012. Sponsored by Senator Leahy (D-VT) and Senator
Cornyn (R-TX), the Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act of 2012 was included in
the Senate-passed version of the STOCK Act, and was based on an identical bill passed by
the Senate Judiciary Committee. Highlights:
Broadens the definition of “official act” and reaffirms that public officials may not accept
anything worth more than $1,000, other than as specifically allowed by other rules and
regulations, given to them because of their official position.6
Increases the maximum penalties for public corruption related offenses.
Expands the ability of wiretaps to be used in public corruption related investigations.
Expands the honest services fraud statute to include undisclosed self-dealing by public
officials.7
5 The Public Corruption Prosecution Improvements Act of 2012 can be found on pages 41-58 of S. 2038, 112th Cong. (2012)
available here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s2038es/pdf/BILLS-112s2038es.pdf.
6 This provision is meant to address the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in Valdes v. United States, 475 F.3d 1319, 1329 (D.C. Cir. 2007) (en
banc), and the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Sun-Diamond Growers, 526 U.S. 398 (1999).
7 This provision is meant to address the Supreme Court’s ruling in Skilling v. United States, 130 S. Ct. 2896 (2010).