News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                                                   Contact: Ron Harris
August 27, 1999                                                                                                   Sharon Snyder
                                                                                                                                  Ian Stirton
                                                                                                                                  Kelly Huff


WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission is seeking public comments on a Petition for Rulemaking to repeal rules concerning voting records and voter guides that are publicly distributed by corporations and labor organizations.

The Federal Election Campaign Act (at 2 U.S.C. 441b) prohibits corporations and labor organizations from using general treasury monies to make contributions or expenditures in connection with federal elections. However, such entities may engage in certain nonpartisan activities, including the preparation and distribution to the general public of voting records of Members of Congress and voter guides consisting of two or more candidates’ positions on campaign issues, as long as certain conditions are met (see 11 CFR, 114.4(c)(4) and 114.4(c)(5)).

On July 20, 1999, a Petition for Rulemaking to repeal these rules was filed by James Bopp, Jr., of the James Madison Center for Free Speech, on behalf of the Iowa Right to Life Committee, Inc. The petition argues this action is necessary to conform the Commission’s regulations to the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit, in Clifton v. Federal Election Commission, and a subsequent district court order. That decision invalidated certain portions of these rules, including the "electioneering message" standard (see 11 CFR, 114.4(c)(5)(ii) (D) and (E)).

A Notice of Availability seeking comments on the petition was published in the Federal Register on August 25, 1999, pps. 46319-20. Copies of the petition are available for public inspection at the Commission’s Public Records Office and through its FAXLINE Service. It is also available on the FEC’s Web site at All comments should be addressed to Rosemary C. Smith, Acting Assistant General Counsel, and must be submitted in either written or electronic form on or before September 24, 1999.


Written comments should be sent to Ms. Smith at the Federal Election Commission, 999 E St., NW, Washington, DC 20463.

Faxed comments should be sent to (202) 219-3923, with printed copy follow-up. Electronic mail comments should be sent to

Consideration of the merits of the petition will be deferred until the close of the comment period. If the Commission decides that the petition has merit, it may begin a rulemaking proceeding.

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