Since the Supreme Court gave the green light to allow unlimited sums of money to flow into political campaigns, the rules on what is and is not allowed in terms of money and disclosure has become increasingly unclear. Most projections indicate that the candidates in the 2012 presidential race will raise unprecented amounts of money--President Obama is expected raise close to a billion. So who's keeping a watchful eye to ensure regulations are being followed? We've seen the creation of Super Pacs and non profit political organizations with the sole purpose of acquiring large sums of money for specific candidates raising some eyebrows. We've also seen the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) allow shareholders the opportunity to weigh-in on the political contributions made by corporations, a lawsuit against the FEC (Federal Election Commission) that aims to open the political process up to foreign nationals, and even the IRS has jumped into the fray. The agency recently sent letters to some large non-profit political groups suggesting that they declare large political donations they "gift" to political campaigns. But with the Supreme Court decision and campaign finance laws seemingly at odds, and no new direction coming from Congress, what's a candidate to do and how much trouble can he get in for doing it?
Jim Bopp Jr, general counsel, James Madison Center for Free Speech
Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media & Democracy
Yaakov Roth, associate at Jones Day and Counsel for Plaintiffs in Bluman v. FEC