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Report No. 255

(v) US standards on permissibility of restrictions

7.46.1. In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court of the U.S., invalidated the provisions of Federal Campaign Act which dealt with ceiling limits on electoral expenditures and deemed it unconstitutional.312 The Buckley ruling settled that expenditures by a non-candidate that are "controlled by or coordinated with the candidate and his campaign" may be treated as indirect contributions subject to Federal Election Campaign Act's source and amount limitations.313

Section 214 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) of 2002 extends the same rule to expenditures coordinated with a national, State, or local committee of a political party. In 2007, the Supreme Court of the United States held that an advertisement included express advocacy or its functional equivalent "if the ad is susceptible to no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a specific candidate." FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., 127 S.Ct. 2652 (2007).

312. 424 U.S. 1 (1976)

313. Guidelines On Media Analysis During Election Observation Missions, European Commission For Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission), 27th October, 2005, at 54,

7.46.2. Section 201 of the BCRA provides for a mandatory disclosure of electioneering communications.315 It carves out an exception for independent expenditures and communications which solely promotes a debate or forum. The Supreme Court has time and again upheld the validity of this provision and in Citizens United, the Court held that disclosure is the least restrictive means.316

315. Section 201 of BCRA, 2002,

316. No. 08-205, 558 U.S.310 (2010)

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