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McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform

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The McCain-Feingold Act, Public Law 107-155, is the US federal law that regulates the financing of political campaigns; chief sponsors were Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Russell Feingold (D-WI). The law became effective 6 November 2002.

It is ironic that the legislation is known as "McCain-Feingold" because the Senate version is not the bill that became law. Instead, the companion legislation, H.R. 2356 -- introduced by Rep. Christopher Shayes (D-CT), is the version that became law. Shays-Meehan was originally introduced as H.R. 380.

The law, also known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, focused on areas:
  • Soft money in campaign financing
  • Issue ads and
  • Controversial campaign practices during the 1996 federal elections
  • Increasing political contribution limits for private individuals
The law was in development for a long time, first being introduced in 1995. It is the first major change in campaign finance law since the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.

Legislative History
On 22 January 2001, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) introduced S.27 (LOC). Eventually, the bill would have 41 sponsors:
  • Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Cochran, Thad [MS] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Levin, Carl [MI] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Thompson, Fred [TN] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Lieberman, Joseph I. [CT] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Collins, Susan M. [ME] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Schumer, Charles E. [NY] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Snowe, Olympia J. [ME] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Wellstone, Paul D. [MN] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Jeffords, James M. [VT] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Reed, Jack [RI] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Wyden, Ron [OR] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Kohl, Herb [WI] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Boxer, Barbara [CA] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Stabenow, Debbie [MI] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Kerry, John F. [MA] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Dayton, Mark [MN] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Corzine, Jon S. [NJ] - 1/22/2001
  • Sen Cleland, Max [GA] - 1/23/2001
  • Sen Nelson, Bill [FL] - 1/23/2001
  • Sen Mikulski, Barbara A. [MD] - 1/24/2001
  • Sen Carper, Thomas R. [DE] - 1/24/2001
  • Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] - 1/24/2001
  • Sen Lincoln, Blanche L. [AR] - 1/25/2001
  • Sen Carnahan, Jean [MO] - 1/30/2001
  • Sen Bingaman, Jeff [NM] - 1/30/2001
  • Sen Bayh, Evan [IN] - 1/30/2001
  • Sen Johnson, Tim [SD] - 2/8/2001
  • Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] - 2/8/2001
  • Sen Sarbanes, Paul S. [MD] - 2/8/2001
  • Sen Reid, Harry [NV] - 2/8/2001
  • Sen Miller, Zell [GA] - 2/27/2001
  • Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] - 2/27/2001
  • Sen Edwards, John [NC] - 3/8/2001
  • Sen Dorgan, Byron L. [ND] - 3/14/2001
  • Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA] - 3/14/2001
  • Sen Graham, Bob [FL] - 3/15/2001
  • Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] - 3/30/2001
The Senate passed the bill, 59-41, on 2 April 2001. (Roll Call Vote)
Democrats voting no:
Breaux (D-LA), Hollings (D-SC), Nelson (D-NE),
Republicans voting yes:
Chafee (R-RI), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Domenici (R-NM), Fitzgerald (R-IL), Jeffords (R-VT), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), Snowe (R-ME), Specter (R-PA), Stevens (R-AK), Thompson (R-TN)

On 18 June 2001, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, where it sat.

On 28 June 2001, HR 2356 was introduced in the House. On Valentine's Day 2002, the House approved the bill, 240 - 189. (Roll Call Vote no)

On 20 March 2002, the Senate concurred with the House version of the bill, by a 60-40 vote. (Roll Call Vote)
Democrats voting no:
Breaux (D-LA), Nelson (D-NE)
Republicans voting yes:
Chafee (R-RI), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Domenici (R-NM), Fitzgerald (R-IL), Jeffords (R-VT), Lugar (R-IN), McCain (R-AZ), Snowe (R-ME), Specter (R-PA), Stevens (R-AK), Thompson (R-TN)

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