The Sierra Club has agreed to pay a $28,000 fine to settle charges that the organization violated Federal Election Commission regulations during the 2004 election.

The FEC found that the club’s 2004 election brochure contained “express advocacy” which constituted an “independent expenditure” — making it off-limits for the nonprofit Sierra Club.

According to The Hill, “FEC Chairman Michael Toner described the settlement as ‘one of the most important express advocacy cases the commission has resolved in recent years.'”

The settlement further defines the Supreme Court decision in McConnell v. FEC, in which the court upheld campaign regulations put in place by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.

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Public Citizen delves into some of the nitty-gritty on Sierra Club divisions and spending here (PDF), and Reason explores some of the implications of campaign finance reform for organizations like Sierra Club here.

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