State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress [January 9, 2014] [open pdf - 426KB]
"Minor and major changes have occurred in campaign finance policy since 2002, when Congress substantially amended campaign finance law via the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). The Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in 'Citizens United v. FEC [Federal Election Committee]' and a related lower-court decision, 'SpeechNow.org v. FEC,' arguably represent the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades. 'Citizens United' lifted a previous ban on corporate (and union) independent expenditures advocating election or defeat of candidates. 'SpeechNow' permitted unlimited contributions to such expenditures and facilitated the advent of super PACs [Political Action Committee]. Although campaign finance policy remains the subject of intense debate and public interest, there have been few legislative or regulatory changes to respond to the 2010 court rulings. This report considers these and other developments in campaign finance policy and comments on areas of potential conflict and consensus. […] Debate has also continued at federal agencies and in the courts. Debate in Congress and elsewhere has continued over the FEC's enforcement practices. The commission also has yet to issue anticipated rules implementing 'Citizens United' and some other litigation. Amid apparent stalemate at the FEC, some observers have called for an increased role for federal agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission, Internal Revenue Service, or Securities and Exchange Commission in policy areas related to campaign finance policy--a topic that remains controversial. The Supreme Court is also considering a challenge to aggregate individual contribution limits ('McCutcheon v. FEC')."
CRS Report for Congress, R41542