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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

A political candidate's campaign can be harmed if a political action committee (PAC) over which the candidate has no control sponsors a negative advertising campaign directed against her opponent. Such PAC support may backfire if the voters believe that the candidate is the source of the negative communication. In 1976 Congress enacted 2 U.S.C. § 441d in an apparent attempt to reduce the danger of such injurious PAC support. This statute imposed identification requirements on political statements concerning candidates. This Note first examines the reasons for the rapid development of PACs in the last fifteen years. The Note then considers the legislative solution to the problem of injurious PAC support embodied in 2 U.S.C. § 441d, focusing on its requirement that political communications include attribution and authorization statements. The Note analyzes the first amendment issues that are implicated by the statute's disclosure requirement and concludes that the law is constitutional. Finally, the Note evaluates the effectiveness of section 441d as a means of eliminating injurious PAC support and proposes some refinements in the statute.

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