Akins v. FEC (91-2831)
On June 9, 1992, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a per curiam order, directed the district court to clarify its order of January 21, 1992. (Civil Action No. 92-5124.) In that order, the district court had required the FEC to "issue a final decision on the merits of the Plaintiffs' administrative complaint forthwith, and in no event later than 4 p.m. on May 29, 1992."
The court of appeals stated that it found the above language confusing: "While it could be interpreted, as the FEC has suggested, as a direction to the agency to take final action by May 29, we question this interpretation because the district court has not found that the FEC's failure to act on appellees' administrative complaint was 'contrary to law' as required by 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8)(C)."
The court further stated: "We would have serious doubts about the propriety of an order compelling the FEC to take final action absent a finding by the district court that the agency's failure to act was 'contrary to law.' Upon clarification, the district court should allow the FEC sufficient time for any action the clarified order may contemplate."
(The FEC had interpreted the order as a mandatory deadline for final action and had asked the district court to clarify the order by deleting that language. When the court refused, the agency filed an appeal.)
In response to the directions from the court of appeals, the district court issued a new order on June 26, 1992. Stating that its previous order "was not intended as an injunction," the district court reopened the case to decide the "contrary to law" issue. However, shortly thereafter, on July 7, 1992, the court dismissed the case as moot since the FEC had completed action on the administrative complaint (Matter Under Review (MUR) 2804). Civil Action No. 91-2831 (CRR).
Source: FEC Record— August 1992. Akins v. FEC, No. 91-2831 (D.D.C. Jan. 20, 1992); on remand, No. 92-5124 (D.C. Cir. June 9, 1992); on remand (D.D.C. June 26, 1992).