Last Week At The FEC: Commission Confirms That Federal Funds Can Support State Candidates

Andrew Emerson is an Associate in our name of Washington-DC office.

Last week the Federal Election Commission did not meet, but held a tally vote to approve Advisory Opinion 2014-03 regarding the use of campaign funds to pay for public communications in support of both a federal candidate and state candidates. The Commission also released two draft Advisory Opinions in response to Make Your Laws PAC's request that it approve a framework within which political committees may accept contributions made in Bitcoins.

Federal Candidates May Use Campaign Funds to Support State Candidates

In AO 2014-03, the Commission voted without dissent to find that a federal candidate's committee may use an unlimited amount of campaign funds to finance advertisements advocating the election of state and local candidates. In doing so, the Commission found that, provided the expenditures were made in compliance with state law, a federal candidate's expenditures in support of state candidates are permissible so long as they are intended to further the federal candidate's candidacy per 2 U.S.C. §439a(a)(1) and 11 C.F.R. § 113.2.

Prior to this opinion, the Commission had only explicitly found that federal candidates could use federal contributions to support ballot initiatives, not state and local candidates. See AO 2004-29. The Commission did not take any position on how state laws would effect such expenditures, or if state candidates would be required to report associated expenditures, leaving significant questions to be answered on a case-by-case basis before other candidates choose to make such expenditures.

Draft AOs Would Allow MYL PAC to Accept Bitcoin Contributions

The Commission released two draft AOs outlining how MYL PAC, and presumptively other federal political action committees, can go about accepting contributions of Bitcoins, the popular virtual currency. As this Blog discussed in February, the Commission has not previously provided an opinion on a...

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