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Proposed Rule

Rulemaking Petition: Independent Spending by Corporations, Labor Organizations, Foreign Nationals, and Certain Political Committees (Citizens United)

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AGENCY:

Federal Election Commission, Energy.

ACTION:

Rulemaking petition; notice of availability.

SUMMARY:

On June 19 and June 22, 2015, the Federal Election Commission received two Petitions for Rulemaking that ask the Commission to issue new rules and revise existing rules concerning: (1) The disclosure of certain financing information regarding independent expenditures and electioneering communications; (2) election-related spending by foreign nationals; (3) solicitations of corporate and labor organization employees and members; and (4) the independence of expenditures made by independent-expenditure-only political committees and accounts. The Commission seeks comments on these petitions.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before October 27, 2015.

ADDRESSES:

All comments must be in writing. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically via the Commission's Web site at http://www.fec.gov/​fosers, reference REG 2015-04, or by email to IndependentSpending@fec.gov. Alternatively, commenters may submit comments in paper form, addressed to the Federal Election Commission, Attn.: Amy L. Rothstein, Assistant General Counsel, 999 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20463.

Each commenter must provide, at a minimum, his or her first name, last name, city, state, and zip code. All properly submitted comments, including attachments, will become part of the public record, and the Commission will make comments available for public viewing on the Commission's Web site and in the Commission's Public Records Office. Accordingly, commenters should not provide in their comments any information that they do not wish to make public, such as a home street address, personal email address, date of birth, phone number, social security number, or driver's license number, or any information that is restricted from disclosure, such as trade secrets or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Amy L. Rothstein, Assistant General Counsel, or Ms. Esther D. Gyory, Attorney, Office of General Counsel, 999 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20463, (202) 694-1650 or (800) 424-9530.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

On June 19, 2015, the Federal Election Commission received a Petition for Rulemaking from Make Your Laws PAC, Inc. and Make Your Laws Advocacy, Inc. On June 22, 2015, the Commission received a Petition for Rulemaking from Craig Holman and Public Citizen. Both petitions, citing Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), ask the Commission to modify its regulations in four respects.

First, the Federal Election Campaign Act, 52 U.S.C. 30101-46 (the “Act”), and Commission regulations require every person who makes an electioneering communication aggregating in excess of $10,000 in a calendar year and every person (other than a political committee) that makes independent expenditures in excess of $250 with respect to a given election in a calendar year to report certain information to the Commission. 11 CFR 104.20(b) and (c), 109.10(b), (e); 52 U.S.C. 30104(c)(1) and (2), (f). The petitions ask the Commission to “[e]nsure full public disclosure of corporate and labor organization independent spending” by “requir[ing] that outside spending groups disclose their donors.”

Second, the Act and Commission regulations prohibit foreign nationals from “directly or indirectly” making contributions, expenditures, and electioneering communications. 11 CFR 110.20; 52 U.S.C. 30121(a). The petitions ask the Commission to “[c]larify that th[is] prohibition on foreign national campaign-related spending restricts such spending by U.S. corporations owned or controlled by a foreign national.”

Third, Commission regulations prohibit corporations and labor organizations from “using coercion . . . to urge any individual to make a contribution or engage in fundraising activities on behalf of a candidate or political committee,” 11 CFR 114.2(f)(2)(iv), and restrict how corporations and labor organizations may solicit contributions to their separate segregated funds from employees and members. 11 CFR 114.5(a)(2) through (5); see also 52 U.S.C. 30118(b)(3). The petitions ask the Commission to “[c]larify that corporations and labor organizations are prohibited from coercing their employees and members into providing financial or other support for the corporation's or labor organization's independent political activities.”

Finally, the petitions ask the Commission to “[e]nsure that the expenditures made by” independent-expenditure-only political committees and accounts, see, e.g., SpeechNow.org v. FEC, 599 F.3d. 686 (D.C. Cir. 2010), “are truly independent of federal candidates.”

The Commission seeks comments on the petitions. The public may inspect the petitions on the Commission's Web site at http://www.fec.gov/​fosers, or in the Commission's Public Records Office, 999 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20463, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interested persons may also obtain copies of the petitions by dialing the Commission's Faxline service at (202) 501-3413 and following its instructions. Request document #280.

The Commission will not consider the petitions' merits until after the comment period closes. If the Commission decides that the petitions have merit, it may begin a rulemaking proceeding. The Commission will announce any action that it takes in the Federal Register.

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Dated: July 16, 2015.

On behalf of the Commission,

Ann M. Ravel,

Chair, Federal Election Commission.

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[FR Doc. 2015-18494 Filed 7-28-15; 8:45 am]

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