Attempted Regulation of Independent Group Speech


Independent expenditures are defined under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) as expenditures for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate. To be independent, these expenditures must be made without prior consultation, suggestion, request, or coordination with the candidate on whose behalf these expenditures are made.3 Independent expenditures were the subject of much public comment in 1980 as a result of highly publicized activities in connection with senatorial races by certain political action committees, the most prominent of which was the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC). Early in the campaign NCPAC targeted certain liberal senators for defeat and then made substantial independent expenditures to advocate their defeat.

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