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FEC Record: Advisory Opinions

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AO 2013-01 1787 National Committee Does Not Qualify as a National Party Committee

The 1787 National Committee (1787 Party) has yet to place any federal candidates on a state ballot. As such, it does not currently meet the definition of “political party” under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations, and does not qualify as a national committee of a political party.

Background
The 1787 Party initially registered with the Commission as a nonconnected political committee on January 24, 2013. Its stated purpose is to “plan the nominating convention, promote candidates, adopt the party platform and rules, and fundraise for the 1787 Party.” The Committee maintains that it is “on track to achieve ballot access” for a number of candidates in several states for elections held in 2014, but to date has not placed any federal candidates on a state ballot.

Analysis
The Act defines a national committee of a political party as “the organization which, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of such political party at the national level, as determined by the Commission.” 2 U.S.C. §431(14); 11 CFR 100.13.

The Act defines a political party as “an organization which nominates a candidate for election to any Federal office whose name appears on the election ballot as the candidate of such…organization.” 2 U.S.C. §431(16); 11 CFR 100.15. Therefore, to be considered a “political party” for purposes of the Act, an organization must first place a federal candidate on a ballot under that organization’s name.

The Commission concluded that since the Party has not yet placed a federal candidate on a state ballot, it has not yet met the Act’s definition of “political party,” and therefore is not a national party committee. The mere intention to place candidates on the ballot does not suffice. See Advisory Opinion 1980-03 (Citizens Committee).

Date Issued: May 9, 2013; Length: 3 pages.

(Posted 5/22/13; By: Myles Martin)

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