Advocacy Groups and PACs
In 1947 as part of the Taft-Hartley Act, the U.S. Congress prohibited labor unions or corporations from influencing federal elections and prohibited labor unions from contributing to candidate campaigns. Labor unions therefore established political action committees (“PAC”) to allow members to contribute to campaigns. In 1971 congress passed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) which defined the operating procedures for PACs and established the Federal Election Commission.
In 2010 the United States Supreme court held in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that law prohibiting corporate and union political expenditures were unconstitutional. The Citizens decision made it legal for corporations and unions to spend from their funds, but did not change the prohibition on direct corporate or union contributions to federal campaigns. Weeks after the Supreme Court decision the Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission that PACs that did not make contributions to candidates, parties or other PACs could accept unlimited funds from individuals, unions and corporations for the purpose of making individual candidate contributions. The result of these decisions was the formation of “Super PACs”. Super PACs cannot make contributions directly to candidates or parties, but may engage in unlimited political spending independently of the campaigns themselves. Since 2010, PAC rules and regulations have continued to evolve resulting in a legal conundrums for PACs, PAC leaders and contributors.
In his over 30 year legal career Jim Bopp has participated in the evolution of PAC rules and regulations, including rules regarding the formation of PACs, contributions to PACs and reporting/disclosure of donor lists. With everything at stake in PAC financing, regulations and reporting, it is important to hire a lawyer with a vast knowledge of the PAC system. Jim helps guide PACs through the complicated processes implemented by Federal and State regulations and subsequent court decisions, many of which Jim has been directly involved in litigation thereof. Jim Bopp is a relentless advisor and advocate for all areas of PAC implementation compliance and campaign finance.