March 21, 2018 •
Federal Court Finds FEC Decision Concerning Outside Political Activity of Group During 2010 Elections Inconsistent with Governing Statutes
On March 20, a federal court found the Federal Election Commission (FEC) failed to interpret campaign finance laws correctly as applied to an outside group’s political activity during the 2010 federal elections.
In 2012, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had brought a complaint to the FEC alleging American Action Network (AAN), an outside nonprofit entity that ran nearly $18 million in television advertisements just before the 2010 federal midterm elections, was a “political committee” and subject to federal disclosure requirements.
A majority of the commissioners did not find “reason to believe” that AAN violated any law and the complaint was dismissed. Crew appealed the FEC decision to the United States District Court for The District of Columbia.
Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Christopher R. Cooper found the FEC’s analysis used to determine whether AAN was a political committee “was inconsistent with the governing statutes,” granted summary judgment in favor of CREW, and remanded the matter back to FEC to address CREW’s initial complaint again.
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