The Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo ruled that spending limits, including the amount a candidate can spend on his or her own campaign from personal funds (also known as personal fund expenditure limits) are unconstitutional. The Court did, however, uphold a system of spending limits, on the condition that they are voluntarily accepted in exchange for some form of public financing. As a result of these Court rulings, the concept of various incentives toward voluntary compliance with a personal funds expenditure limit has been developed. This report discusses some constitutional issues raised by two such incentives: public subsidies and variable contribution limits.
An amendment to S. 27 (McCain/Feingold), SA 115 (Domenici) (approved 70 to 30 on March 20, 2001), would raise the limits on contributions to a Senate candidate whose opponent exceeds a designated level of personal funding in his or her campaign.