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Antosh v. FEC (86-0179)


On July 15, 1986, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order which granted the FEC's motion for summary judgment in Antosh v. FEC and which dismissed with prejudice plaintiff Edward Antosh's complaint. (Civil Action No. 86-0179.) The court held that, under Article III of the Constitution, Mr. Antosh lacked standing to seek judicial review of the FEC's dismissal of his administrative complaint.


Mr. Antosh filed suit against the FEC on grounds that, in two complaints, the agency's failure to order refunds of respondents' excessive contributions was contrary to law. The administrative complaints concerned excessive contributions made respectively by two labor organizations to Senators Edward Kennedy (Matter Under Review (MUR) 1637) and Paul Sarbanes (MUR 1696) in 1984. The contributing committees were the Engineers Political Education Committee (EPEC), the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Political Action League (SMWIA) and the American Federation of Government Employees' Political Action Committee (AFGE). Having found that the respondents violated the law, the Commission required the labor organizations to pay civil penalties for their violations. Refunds by the candidates, however, were not required.

District court ruling

In ruling that Mr. Antosh lacked standing to seek judicial review of the FEC's determination, the court referred to recent decisions in two "virtually identical" suits filed by Mr. Antosh (Antosh v. FEC, Civil Action Nos. 85-1410 and 85-2036). In those rulings, the court held that Mr. Antosh had failed to meet the eligibility requirement for standing under Article III of the Constitution. Under this requirement, an aggrieved party must "'show that he personally has suffered some actual or threatened injury as a result of the putatively illegal conduct of the respondent.... '" Noting that the excessive contribution alleged in Mr. Antosh's suit had been made to Senatorial candidates in Massachusetts and Maryland , the court concluded that "plaintiff thus fails to satisfy the constitutional requisite of 'injury-in-fact.'"

Nor was the court persuaded by plaintiff's claim that he had suffered "injury-in-fact" in making contributions to nonconnected political committees which had, in turn, made expenditures in connection with the Sarbanes and Kennedy reelection campaigns "because he is not eligible to vote in either Massachusetts or Maryland."

Source: FEC RecordSeptember 1986. Antosh v. FEC, No. 86-179, (D.D.C. July 18, 1986).