Blog Category: FEC

The Corporate Meaning of McCutcheon

By: David Mason
Senior Vice President, Compliance Services

Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court.svgThe Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision had nothing directly to say about corporate political spending. And the Supreme Court upheld the Federal corporate contribution ban in FEC v. Beaumont (2003). But there are at least two states, Indiana and New York, where McCutcheon may have a fairly direct effect on corporate political spending. Corporate checkbooks may not open immediately in either state, but challenges to exiting corporate aggregate spending caps are sure to come.

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What Does McCutcheon Mean?

By: David Mason
Senior Vice President, Compliance Services

Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court.svgThe Supreme Court on April 2nd announced its opinion striking down the Federal aggregate limits on individuals’ political contributions (McCutcheon v. FEC). Prior to this decision, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) had biennial limits on individuals’ contributions to candidates, PACs and political parties. The Supreme Court held that those limits are invalid because they violate the First Amendment and cannot be justified as a means to limit corruption. The decision did not address limits on contributions to any one candidate ($2,600 per election), party or PAC ($5,000): those limits remain in effect.

In our assessment, expanded below, the big winners were political parties, especially state party committees. Candidates will benefit some as well. PACs, including Super PACs, are likely to see only limited effects.

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Dave Mason on NPR’s Morning Edition with Peter Overby

national-public-radio-npr-logo_100318079_mSay Goodbye To The Taxpayer-Funded Political Convention

Aristotle’s Senior Vice President of Compliance Services and former FEC Commissioner, David Mason, recently was a guest on NPR’s Morning Edition with Peter Overby to discuss the soon to be extinct taxpayer-funded political conventions:

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An Aristotle Compliance Jingle Just For You

Holiday Ethics


At Aristotle, we’re always happy when people have fun with compliance. Didn’t think that was possible? As reported elsewhere, the House Ethics Committee’s “Holiday Gift Guidance for House Members and staff” came up with a rhyme this year. So, in the spirit of the season, here’s our own rhyming interpretation of the congressional gift rules.

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NEW FEC Policy Alert

FEC-Logo-150x150The FEC recently released a memorandum and policy conclusion on the requirement for state political party committees to maintain monthly employee time logs. The decision amounts to a bad news/good news outcome for state parties. The action also serves as a useful reminder about the importance of the logs.

The Commission concluded that state party committees are required to keep monthly time logs for all committee employees (the bad news), but also announced that the Commission would not pursue enforcement action against committees who fail to keep logs for employees paid with 100% federal funds and reported as such (the good news).

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Association Fined for “Prior Approval” Solicitation Violations and Solicitation Notice Failures

By: David Mason
Senior Vice President, Compliance Services


Associations wrestling with the difficult “prior approval” process for PAC solicitation sometimes ask “do we really have to”? A recent FEC enforcement action is a reminder that fines and other penalties can be imposed when associations make PAC solicitations of persons without required prior approval (or direct membership in the association’s solicitable “restricted class”) or without required solicitation notices. FEC documents just released provide useful pointers about what is required as well as some reminders about what is permitted in association PAC fundraising.

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McCutcheon Super PAC Already Busts Limits; David Mason Comments on Case

“If the question is: Does the aggregate limit [on contributions] to candidates and party committees stop someone from spending all the money they want on politics? The answer is clearly no,” said David Mason, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and senior vice president at the political software and compliance firm Aristotle.

But that’s not the question before the court, Mason said. The justices must instead decide whether they agree with McCutcheon that the aggregate contribution limit poses no corruption risk to candidates or parties. McCutcheon, who’s been joined by the Republican National Committee in his challenge, argues it’s no more corrupting for him to give the maximum $2,600 to 17 candidates than, say, 18 candidates…

Read the full article here.

Supreme Court to Hear Constitutionality of Biennial Contribution Limits Case

By: Ashley Carter
Manager, PAC Outsourcing

On October 8, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in McCutcheon v. FEC. A case that some are calling the “new Citizens United,” McCutcheon challenges the constitutionality of biennial contribution limits.

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or BCRA, established biennial aggregate contribution limits for individuals ($74,600 for contributions to non-candidate committees and $48,600 for contributions to candidate committees).

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Dave Mason Weighs FEC Question Marks for President’s Late Night Talk

Late fees: Taxpayers foot the hefty bill for Obama’s talk-show tour

“The only place the Federal Election Commission regulations would come into play is if he’s actually making a campaign stop,” said former FEC Chairman David Mason. “If it’s just political in the sense that he’s out there campaigning for his political agenda — immigration reform, health care — there’s certainly no FEC requirement that anybody else reimburse the White House.”

Read the full article.

FEC Passes Interpretive Rule on Ultimate Payees

By: Ashley Carter
Outsourcing Account Manager

On June 27th, the Federal Election Commission passed an interpretive rule that clarified how political committees must report the “ultimate payee” for credit card payments, reimbursements to individuals and unreimbursed payments by candidates. While the reporting method outlined in the new rule has been the prescribed form of disclosure for years, it is important for the filing community to understand what this rule means for disclosure and recordkeeping practices.

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