December 2, 2011 •
FEC Cannot Agree On American Crossroads’ Request
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) addressed two highly anticipated requests for advisory opinions yesterday.
In the first decision, the commissioners were unable to reach an agreement as to whether American Crossroads, an independent expenditure-only political committee, could produce and distribute television and radio advertisements with supported federal candidates involved in the creation of those messages. Although none of the four drafts of an advisory opinion were accepted by a majority of the six commissions, they released separate statements regarding the request. The statements can be found here:
- Commissioner Steven T. Walther;
- Vice Chair Caroline C. Hunter and Commissioners Donald F. McGahn and Matthew S. Petersen; and
- Chair Cynthia L. Bauerly and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub
In the second decision, the commission voted unanimously to deny the request of Senator Michael Lee’s Leadership PAC, Constitutional Conservatives Fund PAC. The commission concluded the PAC could not act as an independent expenditure committee, receiving contributions from corporations and unlimited contributions from individuals, because the PAC is controlled by a federal office holder, Senator Michael Lee.
They reached this conclusion even though separate accounts would be used, as recently allowed for independent expenditure committees by the FEC after the Carey v. FEC court decision and a Stipulated Order and Consent Judgment. They were also not persuaded by the fact the funds would only support candidates other than Senator Lee.
This blog post follows previous entries regarding these issues, including: American Crossroads Wants Candidate Participation in its Ads, FEC Will Not Be Enforcing Certain Laws, and One PAC Is Enough.
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.