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House Committee on House AdministrationHouse Committee on Energy and CommerceIntroducedSeptember 14th, 2010
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Fair Elections Now Act
To reform the financing of House elections, and for other purposes.
Fair Elections Now Act - Title I: Fair Elections Financing of House Election Campaigns - (Sec. 101) Amends the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA) to provide certified participating House of Representatives candidates with payments, to be used only for authorized election expenditures, consisting of allocations from the Fair Elections Fund (Fund) as well as Fund payments to match 400% of the amount of certain small dollar contributions (aggregating no more than $100 per contributor per election). Sets forth formulae for determining such allocations and matching payments. Prescribes eligibility and certification requirements for participating candidates. Prohibits a participating candidate from accepting contributions from any source other than the qualifying contributions, allocations, and payments provided for in this Act. Excepts from this prohibition any contributions accepted before a candidate files a statement of intent to seek certification as a participating candidate, but only if the contributions are returned to the contributor, deposited in the Fund, or spent subject to a specified restriction. Prohibits expenditures from any amounts other than qualifying contributions or payments, except in certain circumstances. Allows a political committee of a participating candidate which is not an authorized committee to accept non-qualifying contributions from any person if: (1) the aggregate amount of the contributions from such person for any election during the election cycle does not exceed $100; and (2) no portion of such contributions is disbursed in connection with the participating candidate's campaign. Prohibits such a candidate, with certain exceptions, from making expenditures from any amounts outside such sources or from personal funds or the funds of any immediate family member of the candidate (other than funds received through qualified contributions). Requires a participating candidate, during the election cycle for the office involved, to participate in at least: (1) one public debate before the primary election with other participating and other willing candidates from the same party seeking the same nomination; and (2) two public debates before the general election with other participating and other willing candidates seeking the same office. Requires such a candidate, after an election, to remit any unspent funds to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for deposit in the Fund, with an exception for expenditures incurred but not paid as of the date of remittance. Establishes the Fund in the Treasury. Establishes within the FEC a Fair Elections Oversight Board to administer this title, including assessing civil monetary penalties for violations. (Sec. 102) Requires the deposit of penalties in the Fund. (Sec. 103) Prohibits: (1) use of contributions by a participating candidate for any purposes other than an election campaign; and (2) establishment of joint fundraising committees with any political committee other than a candidate's authorized committee. (Sec. 105) Revises the formula for the limitation on coordinated expenditures by political party committees with participating candidates. (Sec. 106) Amends the Communications Act of 1934 to require the deposit into the Fund of 10% of the proceeds from competitive auctions for a recovered analog spectrum. (Requires deposit of only 90% of such proceeds in the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Fund.) Title II: Responsibilities of the Federal Election Commission - (Sec. 201) Amends FECA to empower the FEC to petition the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari to review a civil action. (Sec. 202) Requires all designations, statements, and reports required to be filed under FECA by candidates for the U.S. Senate to be filed directly with the FEC instead of the Secretary of the Senate. (Sec. 203) Eliminates the threshold amount condition to require the filing of all designations, statements, or reports on aggregate contributions or expenditures in electronic form accessible by computers, regardless of amount. Reduces from 48 hours to 24 hours after their receipt the deadline for the FEC to make designations, statements, reports, or notifications available to the public in the FEC office and on the Internet. Title III: Miscellaneous Provisions - Sets forth severability and effective date provisions.