Understanding H.R. 1 (Part 1): Corporate & Trade Association Campaign Activity

With a growing chorus of support across the progressive landscape, the For the People Act of 2021 has emerged as a key legislative priority for congressional Democrats in the 117th Congress. Envisioned as a “transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package,” the bill would enact sweeping changes to federal election laws along with important changes to federal campaign finance, lobbying, and government ethics laws. Taken together, these changes would have significant implications for private parties engaged in all manner of political activity.

After House Democrats relied on their slim majority to pass the For the People Act, the bill now faces more uncertain prospects in the evenly divided Senate. Nonetheless, Democratic leaders are sure to continue to press aggressively to move the bill through the upper chamber. Likewise, even absent passage of the entire package, Democrats may look for opportunities to pass key elements of the broader bill on a bipartisan basis.

To assist our clients in understanding how the For the People Act would affect their existing activity and compliance obligations, this alert is the first of several that will provide insights into key elements of the bill and what they mean. This alert addresses the bill’s proposed changes to the campaign finance rules, the greatest impact of which is new disclosure obligations for politically active corporations (including non-profit entities and for-profit companies) and trade associations. As discussed in this alert, the bill makes what should be only minor changes to the operation of most PACs, primarily in clarifying the bar on the participation of foreign nationals.

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