(a) Requests by persons, candidates, or authorized committees; subject matter; time for response
(1) Not later than 60 days after the Commission receives from a person a complete written request concerning the application of this Act, chapter 95 or chapter 96 of Title 26, or a rule or regulation prescribed by the Commission, with respect to a specific transaction or activity by the person, the Commission shall render a written advisory opinion relating to such transaction or activity to the person.
(2) If an advisory opinion is requested by a candidate, or any authorized committee of such candidate, during the 60-day period before any election for Federal office involving the requesting party, the Commission shall render a written advisory opinion relating to such request no later than 20 days after the Commission receives a complete written request.
(b) Procedures applicable to initial proposal of rules or regulations, and advisory opinions
Any rule of law which is not stated in this Act or in chapter 95 or chapter 96 of Title 26 may be initially proposed by the Commission only as a rule or regulation pursuant to procedures established in section 30111(d) of this title. No opinion of an advisory nature may be issued by the Commission or any of its employees except in accordance with the provisions of this section.
(c) Persons entitled to rely upon opinions; scope of protection for good faith reliance
(1) Any advisory opinion rendered by the Commission under subsection (a) may be relied upon by--
(A) any person involved in the specific transaction or activity with respect to which such advisory opinion is rendered; and
(B) any person involved in any specific transaction or activity which is indistinguishable in all its material aspects from the transaction or activity with respect to which such advisory opinion is rendered.
(2) Notwithstanding any other provisions of law, any person who relies upon any provision or finding of an advisory opinion in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (1) and who acts in good faith in accordance with the provisions and findings of such advisory opinion shall not, as a result of any such act, be subject to any sanction provided by this Act or by chapter 95 or chapter 96 of Title 26.
(d) Requests made public; submission of written comments by interested public
The Commission shall make public any request made under subsection (a) for an advisory opinion. Before rendering an advisory opinion, the Commission shall accept written comments submitted by any interested party within the 10-day period following the date the request is made public.
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