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News Releases


For Immediate Release


Bob Biersack

October 11, 2007

George Smaragdis

Michelle Ryan


FEC To Hold Public Hearing on Electioneering Communications and the Supreme Court’s decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) will conduct a public hearing on Wednesday and Thursday, October 17-18, as part of a rulemaking to incorporate the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC into the Commission’s regulations.

The FEC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on August 23, 2007, seeking comment from the public on the implementation of the Court’s decision, which held that certain advertisements were entitled to an exemption from the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act’s (BCRA) restriction on the use of corporate or union funds for “electioneering communications.”  The Supreme Court held that the specific ads at issue in the case were not the “functional equivalent of express advocacy” because they were “susceptible of a reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified Federal candidate.”

The NPRM sought comment on a number of questions, including whether ads entitled to exemption under the proposed rule would need to be disclosed to the FEC.  The NPRM also asked questions related to the specific criteria of the exemption (i.e., what types of ads should be eligible) and how the Supreme Court’s decision might impact other aspects of campaign finance regulation.  Written comments submitted in response to the Commission’s NPRM can be found on the Commission's website.

The hearing will take place at the Commission’s offices at 999 E Street N.W. in Washington, and will begin at 10:00 am both days.  A total of 15 witnesses are scheduled to appear.

Public Hearing on Electioneering Communications

Schedule of Witnesses

October 17 and 18, 2007

October 17, 2007

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.          Opening Remarks

10:15 a.m. – 12 noon               Panel 1

  • James Bopp, James Madison Center for Free Speech
  • Marc Elias, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  • Allison Hayward

12 noon - 1:30 p.m.                 Lunch

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.               Panel 2

  • Donald Simon, Democracy 21
  • Laurence Gold, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • Jan Baran, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.               Break

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.               Panel 3

  • Paul Ryan, Campaign Legal Center
  • Jessica Robinson, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

October 18, 2007

10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.           Panel 1

  • Robert Bauer, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  • Michael Trister, Alliance for Justice
  • Jeremiah Morgan, Free Speech Coalition

11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.             Lunch

1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.               Panel 2

  • Stephen Hoersting, Center for Competitive Politics
  • John Sullivan, Service Employees International Union
  • Heidi Abegg, American Taxpayers Association
  • Michael Boos, Citizens United

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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