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Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA), Pub. L. No. 92-225, 86 Stat. 3 (Feb. 7, 1972), codified at 2 U.S.C. §431 et seq.


The FECA is a federal statute that increased disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns, and was amended in 1974 to place legal limits on the campaign contributions. The amendment also created the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The Act was amended again in 1976, in response to the provisions ruled unconstitutional by Buckley v. Valeo,[1] and again in 1979 to allow parties to spend unlimited amounts of hard money on activities like increasing voter turnout and registration.

In 1979, the Commission ruled that political parties could spend unregulated or "soft" money for non-federal administrative and party building activities. Later, this money was used for candidate related issue ads, which led to a substantial increase in soft money contributions and expenditures in elections. This in turn created political pressures leading to passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act ("BCRA"), banning soft money expenditure by parties. Some of the legal limits on giving of "hard money" were also changed in by BCRA.

FECA also requires campaigns and political committees to report the names, addresses, and occupations of donors of $200 or more.


  1. 424 U.S. 1 (1976) (full-text).

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