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Citizens for Percy 84 v. FEC (84-2653)


On November 19, 1984, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion in Citizens for Percy '84 v. FEC (Civil Action No. 84-2653) stating that the FEC's delay in acting on an administrative complaint filed on April 26, 1984, by Citizens for Percy '84 (the Committee) was contrary to law. (The Committee was former Senator Charles H. Percy's principal campaign committee for his 1984 reelection campaign.) The court also ordered the FEC to conform its conduct to the decision within 30 days of the court's order. See 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8).


On August 26, 1984, the Committee had petitioned the district court to declare that the FEC's failure to act on its administrative complaint was contrary to law. See 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8)(A). In the complaint, the Percy campaign had claimed that media expenditures made by Michael Goland on behalf of Rep. Thomas Corcoran, Senator Percy's opponent in the Illinois Senate primary, were coordinated with the Corcoran campaign. The Percy campaign had alleged that, since the expenditures were not independent, Mr. Goland had violated the election law by making excessive in-kind contributions to the Corcoran campaign. See 2 U.S.C. §441a(a)(1)(A). Moreover, the Corcoran campaign had violated the law by accepting the contributions. See 2 U.S.C. §441a(f).

Court's ruling

Noting that the FEC had not found reason to believe the respondent had violated the election law until October 2, 1984, more than five months after the Committee had filed its administrative complaint, the court concluded that the FEC had acted contrary to law. The court reasoned that, since Senator Percy's reelection campaign had been the "focus...of tremendous national interest," the agency did not have the discretion to give the complaint routine treatment.

Note: Citizens for Percy '84 v. FEC (85-0763) was dismissed. See Antosh v. FEC (85-1410).

Source:   FEC Record January 1985, p. 6. Citizens for Percy '84 v. FEC, 2 Fed. Elec. Camp. Fin. Guide (CCH) ¶9215 (D.D.C. 1984).