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Citizens for Wofford v. FEC


On April 14, 1995, plaintiff withdrew the complaint it had filed against the FEC in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. An FEC suit filed against plaintiff on December 20, 1994, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Division, on December 20, 1994, is still in progress. FEC v. Citizens for Wofford (1:CV-94-2057).


Both cases involve an FEC enforcement action borne out of the 1991 Pennsylvania special election. The major party contenders in the special election were Democratic nominee Mr. Harris Wofford and Republican nominee Mr. Richard Thornburgh. The Democrats nominated Mr. Wofford on June 1, 1991, but did not certify the nomination until September 5, 1994.

Citizens for Wofford, Mr. Wofford's principal campaign committee, regarded contributions received following the June 1 designation but prior to the September 5 certification as primary contributions. [1]


As a result, the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania filed an administrative complaint with the FEC. Following an investigation, the Commission found probable cause to believe that Citizens for Wofford violated 2 U.S.C. §441a(f) -the knowing acceptance of a contribution made in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act's limits. This was because contributions received after June 1, the date of the nomination, should have been counted against the contributor's general election limit. Attempts to reach a conciliation agreement with Citizens for Wofford failed. This impasse lead to the filing of this case and FEC v. Citizens for Wofford.


[1] Counting these contributions against a contributor's primary election limit instead of against the contributor's general election limit would enable contributors to give up to twice as much to the party's nominee as they would otherwise be able to; contributors would be able to give up to their per-election limit to support Senator Wofford's primary election campaign after the fact and again to support his general election campaign.

Source:   FEC RecordJune 1995, p. 13; Citizens for Wofford v. FEC, No. 94-2617 (D.D.C. Apr. 14, 1995).