The Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) just released a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for its pending rulemaking on coordinated communications. The regulatory line between independent and coordinated speech is critically important in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. The pro-regulation groups and Congressional Democrats are seeking to suppress corporate political speech by pushing for an expansive definition of what constitutes a coordinated communication. If a communication is coordinated with a federal candidate or political party, it may constitute a in-kind contribution and is subject to regulation and possible prohibition. If a communication is independent, the regulatory burden is less severe and it enjoys greater free speech protections under the First Amendment.
The Supplemental Notice asks for comments regarding the Citizens United decision’s impact on the coordinated communication rulemaking, and announces that the FEC will hold public hearings on the matter.
I will post additional information after I review the Notice.