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McConnell v. Federal Election Commission

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Sullivan

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Citation. 540 U.S. 93.

Brief Fact Summary.  

Congress enacted the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) to cover the loopholes left in the first statute, The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) that sought to control federal election campaign contributions.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.  

 Under the BCRA federal candidates and national party committees may not use soft-money funding for federal election campaigns.

Facts. The FECA sought to control contributions to federal election candidates. Electoral committees found loopholes to these rules. One of the biggest loopholes is what is called soft-money. Soft-money is money given to a national party that would use the money for activities intended to influence state or local elections. For example; paying for election advertising, giving money to organizations that would run election activities, and money given just to the national party but not the actual federal candidate.  The BCRA is an amendment to that act which directly addresses the use of soft-money donations. Money used to express an idea has long been held a right under the First Amendment Freedom of Speech. Plaintiffs bring this case stating that such restrictions on soft-money are a violation of that right.



  Whether restrictions on soft-money contributions to national party committees violates the First Amended Freedom of Speech.

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