States begin to regulate independent and coordinated expenditures


As the Federal Election Commission continues to struggle with regulating Super PACs and defining the line between independent and coordinated expenditures, more and more states are introducing their own regulations. The latest is California, where the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) recently amended its regulations regarding independent versus coordinated expenditures and imposed stricter rules on campaign coordination.

The amended regulation (2 Cal. Code Regs. Section 18225.7) strengthens and expands the presumption of coordination between a candidate and an outside spender who expressly advocates on the candidate’s behalf. Before this latest amendment, the California law was similar to Ohio’s definitions of coordinated and independent expenditures found in R.C. 3517.01 and R.C. 3517.1011. With the new amendments, California now specifically deals with candidate appearances at fundraisers for the outside spender and discusses the involvement of the candidate’s former staff and family members. Once a presumption is tripped, the amendments also shift the burden of proof to the candidates to show they are in compliance with the law.

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