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For Immediate Release                                                   Contact:  Bob Biersack
March 5, 2007                                                                               Michelle Ryan
                                                                                                   George Smaragdis

APPEALS COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF FEC - REFORM PARTY MUST REPAY $333,558

WASHINGTON –The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a district court decision in favor of the Federal Election Commission requiring the Reform Party of the United States (Reform Party) to repay $333,558 in public funds to the U.S. Treasury.  The repayment stems from an audit of the Reform Party’s 2000 nominating convention committee by the FEC. The Commission found that the Reform Party impermissibly spent a portion of its public funding on non-convention related expenditures.  The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment against the Reform Party and ruled that all challenges to FEC repayment determinations must occur in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

This was the first appellate decision addressing a Commission suit to seek recovery of a debt resulting from a determination that public funds must be repaid.  “Taxpayers have a right to be confident that public funds are being spent appropriately, and sometimes it is necessary to sue to enforce that right,” said Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard.

The FEC filed suit in the Northern District of Florida to enforce the repayment obligation.  In November 2005, the district court ordered the Reform Party to repay $333,558.  The district court ruling, affirmed by the 11th Circuit, enjoined the Reform Party “from diverting any of its assets to any expenditures other than payment of federal taxes until it completes its repayment obligation.”

The Commission was represented in the litigation by FEC attorneys Richard Bader and Colleen Sealander.

The 11th Circuit Court decision can be found at here