Preliminary Injunction Order to be Issued Concerning Unauthorized Committee Naming - State and Federal Communications

August 2, 2016  •  

Preliminary Injunction Order to be Issued Concerning Unauthorized Committee Naming

District_of_Columbia_Court_of_Appeals_Seal.svgToday, a federal court ruled an unconnected committee should be allowed to use candidates’ names in the titles of their websites and social media pages while the case is being resolved.

In Pursuing America’s Greatness v. FEC, the United States Court of Appeals for The District of Columbia Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction and remanded the case for the district court to enter a preliminary injunction enjoining the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from enforcing the application of 11 C.F.R. § 102.14(a) against the plaintiff pending the outcome of the case.

Federal law requires a candidate’s committee to include the name of the candidate in the committee’s title and requires an unauthorized political committee to not use a candidate’s name in its title. The purpose of the law is to avoid confusion. Through regulation, the FEC has extended the naming prohibition to other committee activities, solicitations, and communications, including special project names for websites or social media pages.

The court found there is a substantial likelihood the regulation violates the First Amendment and the plaintiff will prevail in the lawsuit because the FEC has not shown the regulation is the least restrictive means of achieving the government’s interest.

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