BCRA

The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act was suppose to clear the corruption out of politics. It is having one side effect that I assume the sponsors knew would happen, because it is so obvious, but might not have known.

Under old law, local parties could do voter id drives, get out the vote programs, etc. without running into federal law. In fact, local parties could contribute to federal candidates small amounts of money, provided that money came from individuals.

Now, if local parties conduct a voter id drive, conduct a get out the vote effort, mention a federal candidate in any radio, television, or printed advertisement, or otherwise promote a federal campaign, the local party is in violation of federal campaign law unless the local party complies with BCRA, reports to the FEC, regulates its contributions through setting up a federal account restricted to only individual contributions, etc.

Local parties, which should be the bed rock of the national parties, are getting out of the federal election scene. There aren’t that many yet; however, most don’t realize the extent of the law and most are probably violating the law. Oh, and if they raise $25,000 or more, they have to file tax returns.

I heard from a source who was there that the State Libertarian Party in Arizona could not find anyone willing to serve as treasurer of the state party at its convention. Everyone was scared that they’d go to jail if there was a screw up.

Local party chairs cannot work with federal campaigns because of new BCRA rules on comingling.

Local parties are dead. It is now time to go form non-party 527 organizations.

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Erick Erickson

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