Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002: Summary and Comparison with Previous Law [Updated January 9, 2004]   [open pdf - 66KB]

"The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) was enacted on March 27, 2002 as P.L. 107-155. It passed the House on February 14, 2002, as H.R. 2356 (Shays-Meehan), by a 240-189 vote. Its companion measure, on which it was largely based, had initially been passed by the Senate in 2001 as S. 27 (McCain-Feingold). [...] The Act generally took effect on November 6, 2002, the day after the 2002 general elections. Certain provisions, however, had different effective dates, either to allow a transition period or, as in the case of increased contribution limits, to make the new rules coincide with the calendar year. On December 10, 2003, in McConnell v. FEC [Federal Election Commission] (No. 02-1674), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of key provisions of BCRA. A 5-to-4 majority of the Court upheld most portions of the law, including the key provisions relating to political party soft money and electioneering communications. The Court, however, invalidated two provisions of the law: the prohibition of contributions by minors age 17 and under and the provision requiring political parties to choose between coordinated and independent expenditures during the post-nomination, pre-election campaign period."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL31402
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