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Prepared by the offices of Congressmen Shays and Meehan
February 14, 2002 

Summary of the Shay's-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform Law

National Parties. Bans national parties from raising and spending soft money. 

Prohibition on soft money solicitation. Prohibits Federal officeholders and candidates from soliciting or raising soft money for political parties at Federal, state, and local levels, and from soliciting or raising soft money in connection with Federal elections. 

State parties. Prohibits state parties and local party committees from using soft money to pay for TV ads that mention Federal candidates and get-out-the-vote activities that mention Federal candidates. Permits state parties and local party committees to use contributions, up to $10,000 per donor per year, for generic GOTV activities and for GOTV activities for state and local candidates. Each state party or local committee must raise its own contributions and a portion of each expenditure must include hard money. 

Reins in sham issue ads. Prohibits the use of corporate and union treasury money for
broadcast communications that mention a Federal candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary and are targeted at the candidate's electorate. (Unions and corporations can finance these ads through their PACs.) Requires individuals and groups of individuals to disclose contributions and expenditures for similar broadcast communications.

Increases individual contributions limits. Raises limits on individual contributions to House, Senate and Presidential campaigns to $2,000 and indexes for inflation. 

Effective date. Soft money ban and other provisions take effect November 6, 2002. Changes in contribution limits take effect January 1, 2003. 

Severability provision. If any provision of the bill is held unconstitutional, the remainder of the bill is not affected. 

This document is not necessarily endorsed by the Almanac of Policy Issues. It is being preserved  in the Policy Archive for historic reasons.

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