« Maryland recount | Main | American Foreign Service Assn PAC »

Issue ads

The Washington Post and the New York Times report that Judge Henry Kennedy of the federal District Court in DC has issued a temporary restraining order allowing Hawaii Right To Life, Inc., to run issue ads in the two Hawaii special elections being held this week and in early January. HRTL is a "qualified non-profit corporation" under the FEC's current regulations issued to comply with the Supreme Court decision in the FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life case. Despite the headline on the Washington Post article, this is not a remarkable holding at all.

The BCRA says that corporations, labor unions, and groups receiving funds from them may not make "electioneering communications." Individuals and other groups may make such communications, but have to disclose their contributions to the FEC.

In my paper on the BCRA (page 6), I had suggested that the MCFL case would cause qualified non-profit corporations to be treated like unincorporated groups.

What is unclear from the news articles is whether Judge Kennedy exempted HRTL from disclosures as well as allowing it to run the ads.