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more strongly emphasized. Contributions are limited to the amount of $5,000 to each candidate or each political committee, but there is no overall limitation and a person may contribute to any number of candidates or political committees.
On the other hand, the limitations on expenditures are by far more rigid. At present a candidate for Senator is permitted to spend in his campaign $10,000 or an amount obtained by multiplying 3 cents by the total number of votes cast at the last general election for all candidates for the office for which he is running but not to exceed $25,000.
A candidate for Representative is allowed $2,500 or an amount calculated on the basis of the same formula with the only exception that in such case there is a $5,000 overall limit. Even so, these provisions are superseded by lower limits of applicable State law.
The expenditures of political committees are limited to an overall amount of $3 million during any calendar year.
The control over expenditures and contributions is difficult to enforce. fact, many believe that adequate control is impossible. The amounts of money are too large and the number of people involved, too great. Strict provisions would simply lead to evasions. Even if one does not take this pessimistic view, it is safer to emphasize disclosure over control. It seems also easier to emphasize the control of contributions over the control of expenditures.
This was the position taken by the recent Senate elections bill. It emphasizes the importance of controlling contributions by setting an overall limitation of $10,000 for individual contributions. It also deemphasizes the importance of expenditure control by a dractic raise of ceilings on spending by candidates and political committees operating in two or more States.
The new Senate bill makes a definite break with these schemes of limitations. The bill permits a candidate for Senator to spend $50,000 or an amount obtained by multiplying 20 cents by the first million of the total number of votes cast in the last general election for all candidates, and in addition, the amount obtained by multiplying 10 cents by the remaining number of votes in excess of 1 million. Furthermore, in applying the formula, the candidate may rely on his computation on the number of persons registered to vote instead of actual votes case. The respective figures for a candidate for Representative is a flat amount of $12,500 or the choice of the formula described. There is no overall limitation in case of using the formula and the limitations of the Federal statute override any limitations of the State law.
The significance of this change is highlighted by the fact that the campaign for nomination and election are treated separately for the purpose of calculating permissible expenditures. This increase, as well as large amounts permitted under the bill to presidential and vice presidential candidates, together with allowing interstate political committees to spend something like $12 million instead of $3 million may appear to be excessive. In some instances, it may be shown that no such expenditures have in fact been made.
In the course of the past decades, we have witnessed a far-reaching technological development and a radical decrease in the purchase value of the dollar. In 1925, the date of the existing law, there was no need to spend money for radio which actually was in its infancy while television was not yet in existence. Now, with the development of the media of mass communication, it is practically impossible to wage a political campaign without ample recourse to radio and television facilities. All in all, as compared with 1925, the cost of elections is staggeringly high. The survey of 1956 puts the amount at $33 million which was spent in the course of Federal elections of that year by the Republican and Democratic Parties as well as by labor groups and other organizations.
Our experience with the present election law points up its ineffectiveness and loopholes. I submit that speedy remedial action is needed in order to sustain the integrity of our institutions.
In this connection, the bill which the Senate passed last January is a document of far-reaching significance. It emphasizes disclosures over controls and control of contributions over that of expenditures. In that, it is a realistic bill which takes into consideration the long experience we have had with conducting election campaigns on the basis of the present law.
I respectfully urge that your committee consider the Senate bill favorable so that by the 1st of January of 1961 we would have a strong and modern Federal election law.
MEMORANDUM, FEBRUARY 2, 1960
Subject: The most important features of the new Hennings "clean elections" bill. 1. General purposes of the bill.-The bill is designed to accomplish two things: To improve information on money spent in political campaigns and to return our law to reality with respect to money a candidate or political committee can spend. In order to accomplish this double purpose, the bill improves reporting provisions and provides for limitation on spending which takes into account the changes in costs and prices during the last 35 years.
2. More specifically, the bill contains the following provisions:
1. In addition to general and special elections, money received and spent during primary elections and conventions and caucuses of political parties must be reported.
2. All political committees that collect or spend $2,500 or more to influence Federal elections are bound by the bill. They must make the necessary reports and comply with all further provisions in this respect.
3. Reports must be filed (a) by political committees, (b) by other persons if they spend more than $100 in a calendar year to influence elections in two or more States (reporting is necessary only if the money is spent directly, not by contributions to a political committee), and (c) by candidates.
4. Under the bill, candidates for President and Vice President must report as any other candidate for Federal office.
5. The original of all reports must be filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
In addition, political committees supporting candidates for President, Vice President, and Senator and the senatorial candidates themselves file copies of reports with the Secretary of the Senate.
Finally, all political committees and all candidates must file copies of their reports with the clerk of the appropriate Federal district court. If a State official has the same authority, such copies should be filed with such official.
The filing of copies of reports with Federal district courts or State officials is particularly designed to make information readily available on the local level. 6. The bill makes reporting easier by cutting down on the number of reports in nonelection years. Instead of four reports, there will be two semiannual reports.
7. Also improved are the reports themselves. Under the new bill, cash on hand and transfers to and from political committees would be reported as separate items.
In case of political committees supporting two or more candidates (including State and local candidates), the bill provides for an apportionment formula.
8. Persons with whom reports are to be filed will keep them for a period of 6 years instead of 2.
9. Under the bill, a Senator would be permitted to spend in his campaign $50,000, and a candidate for Representative $12,500. There is also an alternative formula under which candidates of populous States will be able to spend several hundred thousand dollars. In computing the permissible amount of expenditure, general elections and primaries are considered separately.
The expenditures permitted to candidates for President and Vice President are established by a formula which, on the strength of voting statistics, would permit them to spend up to $121⁄2 million. This limitation applies to the ticket as a unit. In primaries, presidential and vice presidential candidates will be permitted to spend 50 percent of that amount.
10. Under the bill, these limitations on spending by candidates will take precedence over any such limitations under State law.
11. Under the new bill, no one will be permitted to give or to spend more than $10,000 in a calendar year or in a political campaign. However, political committees are not bound by this limitation.
12. Under the formula provided by the bill, political committees operating in two or more States will be permitted to spend about $121⁄2 million in any calendar year.
13. The bill will become effective as of January 1, 1961, and will not affect contributions and expenditures made prior to that date.
MEMORANDUM, FEBRUARY 2, 1960
To: Senator Thomas C. Hennings, Jr.
From: Sadi J. Mase, associate chief counsel of the Subcommittee on Privileges and Elections.
Subject: Amendments made by the Senate in the reported version of your new "clean elections" bill (S. 2436).
1. The Senate made 10 changes in your "clean elections" bill as reported by the Committee on Rules and Administration. There were four major changes. You were the author of all four amendments.
2. The Senate version of the "clean elections" bill shows the following changes
(1) The definition of the term "election" has been changed to cover primary elections including preferential primaries and conventions and caucuses of political parties (p. 2, lines 4-7 and p. 17, lines 8-11. In the following all citations refer to the Senate version of the bill). First Hennings amendment.
(2) The definition of the term "political committee" has been entirely changed. Under the new definition the term now includes any organization which accepts contributions or makes expenditures in an aggregate amount exceeding $2,500 in any calendar year for the purpose of influencing the election of candidates including presidential or vice presidential electors. In addition to interstate committees (as under the existing law) the new definition would reach all intrastate committees qualifying under the cutoff amount of $2,500 (p. 3, lines 3–9 and p. 17, lines 18-24). Second Hennings amendment.
(3) The bill reenacts the provisions of the existing law requiring persons other than political committees to report any direct expenditures (i.e., not by way of contributions to political committees) of $100 or more to influence an election in two or more States (the cutoff amount in the existing law is $50) (sec. 203, p. 8, line 210 and p. 9, line 11). Third Hennings amendment.
(4) The new bill subjects candidates for President or Vice President to reporting as any other candidate (p. 9, line 13).
(5) Modifies the duty of the candidate to file a postelection report on the 40th day after election where the State provides for a runoff primary within that period. This applies only to candidates running in the second primary and only if the reports on the second primary include information on the first (p. 9, line 24-p. 10, line 6).
(6) The new bill eliminates the requirement of the committee version that a candidate be required to ascertain supporting committees and to list them in his report. (This has been achieved by striking subsec. (d) of sec. 204. See p. 10, bottom of the page.)
(7) The new bill limits the spending of candidates for President and Vice President "to the amount obtained by multiplying 20 cents by the largest number of voters casting votes for presidential electors in any one of the last three preceding elections." It has been calculated that under this formula the amount would be approximately $121⁄2 million. This limitation applies to the ticket as a unit. In campaigns for nomination the candidates are permitted to spend only 50 percent of that amount (sec. 208 (c) and (d), p. 14, line 21 and p. 15, line 9). (8) The amended version provides for an overall limitation of $10,000 for political contributions and expenditures. The limitation does not apply to contributions or expenditures made by a political committee (p. 18, line 21 and p. 19, line 14). Fourth Hennings amendment.
(9) Changes the effective date of the bill from January 1, 1960, to January 1, 1961 (p. 21, line 4); and
(10) Changes the language of the effective date provision without changing its meaning as follows: "Titles I and II and the amendments made by title III shall take effect on January 1, 1961, except that provisions of this act shall not apply to contributions and expenditures made prior to this date; ** *" (p. 21, lines 3-6). In the committee version the underlined portions of the section read "** * but only with respect to contributions and expenditures made on and after such date ***" (p. 21, lines 4-6).
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS OF FEDERAL ELECTIONS ACT OF 1960 (S. 2436) WHICH PASSED THE SENATE JANUARY 25, 1960
1. Raised the spending limit for candidates for Senator and Representative at Large from a flat $25,000 to $50,000 or an amount equal to 20 cents a vote for all votes cast for the office in the preceding election, plus 10 cents a vote for all such votes in excess of 1 million (or a similar sum derived from the total number of persons registered to vote). Such a formula would raise the limit in New
York State above $600,000.
2. Raised the spending limit of candidates for Representative from a flat $5,000 to $12,500 or an amount calculated as above.
3. Set the spending limit for the nominees of any political party for President and Vice President at an amount equal to 20 cents a vote for the highest number of votes cast for President in any one of the three preceding elections, and at 50 percent of this amount for candidates for nomination for President or Vice President. The annual ceiling would thus be set at above $12 million for a nominated presidential ticket, and above $6 million for candidates for nomination. 4. Raised the spending limit for political committees operating in two or more States from a flat $3 million per year to an amount equal to 20 cents per vote calculated in the same manner as for a nominated presidential ticket (above $12 million).
5. Reduced the number of financial reports required of committees from four to two in nonelection years, and for election years deleted one of the two reports required to be filed immediately prior to elections and instead of required filing of a report no later than 30 days following elections.
6. Required financial reports not only of national and other interstate political committees, and of candidates for Federal office in general elections, but also of candidates for nomination to Federal office in primary elections and political committees operating entirely within one State if they spend over $2,500 in connection with Federal elections in any year. Note: The Udall bill (H.R. 9938) deletes all regulations which concern primary elections.
7. Required persons who spend $100 or more in any year to influence the election of congressional candidates in two or more States to report their expenditures.
8. Placed an overall limitation of $10,000 on the amount of political contributions by any individual in any year and repealed the ban on single contributions of over $5,000.
9. Provided that all spending reports be filed with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, with the Secretary of the Senate (except for House elections), and with the clerk of the U.S. district court or responsible State officials in the district or State of the committee or candidate. Reports would be available for public inspection within 24 hours of their receipt by these officials, must be retained for 6 years, and any citizen would be allowed to photograph or otherwise copy them.
(The subcommittee proceeded to the consideration of other business.)