Legislative Political Glossary





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Legislative action

AFGE actions that deal with governing

Political actions

AFGE actions that deal with elections

Grassroots

Grassroots, the common or ordinary people, especially as contrasted with the leadership or elite of a political party, social organization, etc.; the rank and file.
 

 

In the context of an AFGE conversation, it often refers to actions at the local level of AFGE

Federal Election Commission

In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.

Source: FEC. http://www.fec.gov/about.shtml

Campaign finance disclosure portal: http://www.fec.gov/pindex.shtml

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GDP is commonly used as an indicator of the economic health of a country, as well as to gauge a country's standard of living. Critics of using GDP as an economic measure say the statistic does not take into account the underground economy - transactions that, for whatever reason, are not reported to the government. Others say that GDP is not intended to gauge material well-being, but serves as a measure of a nation's productivity, which is unrelated.

The monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country's borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.

GDP = C + G + I + NX where:

"C" is equal to all private consumption, or consumer spending, in a nation's economy"G" is the sum of government spending"I" is the sum of all the country's businesses spending on capital"NX" is the nation's total net exports, calculated as total exports minus total imports. (NX = Exports - Imports).

Source: Investopedia. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gdp.asp

First Amendment

First Amendment, amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States, part of the Bill of Rights, which reads,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally restricted only what the federal government may do and did not bind the states. Most state constitutions had their own bills of rights, and those generally included provisions similar to those found in the First Amendment. But the state provisions could be enforced only by state courts.In 1868, however, the was added to the U.S. Constitution, and it prohibited states from denying people “liberty” without “due process.” Since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has gradually interpreted this to apply most of the Bill of Rights to state governments.

The First Amendment, however, applies only to restrictions imposed by the government, since the First and Fourteenth amendments refer only to government action. As a result, if a private employer fires an employee because of the employee’s speech, there is no First Amendment violation.

Source: Encyclopedia Britannica.
http://www.britannica.com/topic/First-Amendment

Hatch Act

Enacted in 1939, the Hatch Act (5 U.S.C.A. 7324) curbs the political activities of employees in federal, state, and local governments. The law's goal is to enforce political neutrality among civil servants: the act prohibits them from holding public office, influencing elections, participating in or managing political campaigns, and exerting Undue Influence on government hiring. Penalties for violations range from warnings to dismissal. The law's restrictions have always been controversial. Critics have long argued that the act violates the First Amendment freedoms of government employees. The U.S. Supreme Court has disagreed, twice upholding the law's constitutionality.

Source: TheFreeDictionary.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Hatch+Act

How does the Hatch Act Effect You?
Office of Special Counsel.
https://osc.gov/pages/hatchact-affectsme.aspx 

PAC

See Political Action Committee

Political Action Committee

Political Action Committee. A group not endorsed by a candidate or political party but organized to engage in political election activities, especially the raising and spending of money for "campaigning." Some political action committees (PACs) are organized solely to help defeat a candidate deemed undesirable by the group. PACs are most often organized around a particular trade, union, or business; they are also organized to promulgate particular social, economic, or political beliefs or agendas.

Source: TheFreeDictionary.com.
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Political+Action+Committee

In 1944, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, the CIO part of what is today the AFL-CIO, wanted to help President Franklin Roosevelt get re-elected. Standing in their way was the Smith Connally Act of 1943, which made it illegal for labor unions to contribute funds to federal candidates. The CIO went around Smith Connally by urging individual union members to voluntarily contribute money directly to the Roosevelt campaign.  It worked very well and PACs, or political action committees were born.

Under federal election laws, PACs can legally contribute only $5,000 to a candidate committee per election (primary, general or special). They can also give up to $15,000 annually to any national party committee, and $5,000 annually to any other PAC. However, there is no limit to how much PACs can spend on advertising in support of candidates or in promotion of their agendas or beliefs. PACs must register with and file detailed financial reports of monies raised and spent to the Federal Election Commission.

Source: Robert Longley. About.com.
http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/thepoliticalsystem/a/aboutpacs.htm

FEC

See Federal Election Commission


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