Bauer Updates Book On Soft-Money Rules

Posted January 16, 2004 at 5:04pm

For those feeling befuddled or overwhelmed by the campaign finance law passed in 2002, election lawyer Bob Bauer provides some relief through the second edition of his book “More Soft Money Hard Law,” an easy-to-read explanation of the complicated statute.

Moreover, Bauer has launched a new Web site to serve as an electronic supplement to his book. As Bauer explains, the site tracks ongoing legal developments and provides “clear information about what this new law means” as the Federal Election Commission continues to interpret the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act through the rulemaking process and by issuing advisory opinions.

At, individuals can find an abbreviated primer on how the new law affects political parties and candidates, track what the FEC is up to with 527 organizations, and even submit their own questions and comments if they are in need of a little free legal advice.

How is the latest version of “More Soft Money Hard Law” different from the first edition?

“The earlier book had no rules in it,” Bauer said, explaining that the newer edition incorporates the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law, as well as the rulemakings and advisory opinions that the FEC has since issued.

Among the new material contained in the book is an in-depth discussion of how the FEC has interpreted the ban on soft money, particularly as it relates to the prohibition on officeholders and candidates soliciting or directing such funds, so that such political actors will not run afoul of the law.

In later chapters, Bauer also discusses new FEC advisory opinions dealing with federal candidate fundraising for state and local candidates — an area that is also explored with supplementary information on the Web — as well as the commission’s new detailed rules on coordination.

Besides the fact that Bauer translates arcane law into plain English, the book provides illustrative hypothetical examples that usefully demonstrate life-like situations that many lawmakers and candidates may face this election cycle.