The Campaign Finance Guide: A Resource for Citizens, Candidates and Press

The Campaign Finance Guide: A Resource for Citizens, Candidates and Press

Washington, DC- The Campaign Legal Center announces The Campaign Finance Guide, a comprehensive primer on federal campaign finance laws in the new regulatory world of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 ("McCain-Feingold"). The Finance Guide is designed to serve as a hands-on resource for federal candidates, citizens, state and national political organizations, state political parties and the media The guide is available in a published and downloadable form, and also in an extended, continually updated online version available at

"Just nine months ago the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Reform Act. We are now in the midst of the first election cycle to be held under the new law. The Campaign Finance Guide is the first publication to lay out in simple terms for citizens and candidates what the new rules are and how to operate within them," stated Trevor Potter, president and general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center. 

The editors of the Finance Guide are Mr. Potter, a former FEC commissioner and chairman; Anthony Corrado, Charles A. Dana Professor of Government at Colby College and a resident visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution; and Daniel Ortiz, John Allan Love Professor of Law and Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. 

The Center is distributing thousands of copies of the Finance Guide to all federal candidates this election cycle, to state political party leaders and state-based campaign finance and ethics boards, Members of Congress, academic institutions and citizen organizations. 

The Legal Center has also developed an extended on-line version of the Finance Guide with additional resources, links, definitions, greater access to many related topics of interest. This website will be continually updated as legal developments occur in federal campaign finance law. 

Features of the Finance Guide include: 

  • Overview of the regulatory system detailing contribution and expenditure limits for individuals, political committees, parties, unions and corporations (p. 16-35).  
  • Sponsorship identification requirements for both the FEC and FCC (p. 45-46)  
  • Press exemption from media regulations on political issues (p. 44)  
  • Overview of the Federal Election Commission and how to file a complaint (p. 56-63)  
  • How the Presidential Public Funding system works (p. 48-55)  
  • Glossary of key terms and resources (p. 64-67; 70) 

To view the Finance Guide Web site, please visit

If you would like a hard copy of the Campaign Finance Guide, please email your request to

Funding for the Finance Guide was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Joyce Foundation.