At last week’s open meeting, the Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) adopted revised coordination rules applicable to outside groups, and federal election activity rules for state and local party committees. The new coordination rules do change the coordination rules applicable to communications sponsored by political party committees such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee or Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The combination of these two rulemakings will impact every player in the political process. The new coordination rules will force federal candidates and political party committees to reevaluate how they interact with grassroots lobbying groups that are driving messages regarding public policy positions. The FEC apparently rejected the “PASO” content standard pushed by the campaign finance reform groups and adopted the “functional equivalent” content standard set forth in in the United States Supreme Court’s Wisconsin Right to Life decision. This content standard now applies to advertisements aired at any time, and not just during the weeks immediately preceding a federal election.
The new federal election activity rules may change the way state and local party committees educate their voters about the voting process and get-out-the-vote operations.
Both rules are expected to change before publication in the Federal Register. I will post a link to the final versions as soon as they are available.