November 26, 2014 •
District Court Rules FEC Regulation Limiting Disclosure “Arbitrary, Capricious, and Contrary to Law”
On November 25, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled corporations and labor organizations making electioneering communications are required to disclose all donors making contributions over $1,000. Under 11 C.F.R. §104.20(c)(9), the Federal Election Commission’s regulation ruled invalid, disclosure was only required when made explicitly for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications.
In Christopher Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission, the Court found the commission’s regulation “arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law” and “an unreasonable interpretation of the [Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA)].” 52 U.S.C. § 30104(f)(d)(E)–(F) of the BCRA does not require any preconditions for when to disclose donors making contributions over $1,000.
The Court ruled the commission’s regulation “serves to frustrate the aim of the statute because the introduction of a subjective test to the reporting regime creates an exception that has the potential to swallow the rule entirely. A donor can avoid reporting altogether by transmitting funds but remaining silent about their intended use.”
The case was brought in 2011 by U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen.
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