Common Cause Georgia, et al. v. FEC (22-3067)
On September 29, 2023, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (the court) granted both parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in part and denied both motions in part. Common Cause Georgia and its executive director, Treaunna C. Dennis (plaintiffs), sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the Commission for the dismissal of their administrative complaint against True the Vote (TTV) and the Georgia Republican Party (Party).
Plaintiff’s administrative complaint alleged TTV made unlawful corporate contributions to the Party; that the Party unlawfully accepted coordinated corporate contributions; and that the Party fell short of its disclosure obligations. On August 11, 2022, the Commission voted 2-3 to find reason to believe a violation had occurred, and voted 2-3 to find there was no reason to believe. The Commission then voted 4-0 to close the file.
Plaintiffs filed suit to challenge that dismissal, alleging that the Commission’s nonenforcement deprived them of information to which they were entitled under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and harmed their voter protection efforts. They asked the court to declare that the FEC’s dismissal of their administrative complaint was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law.
The district court found that plaintiffs had standing to challenge the Commission’s failure to find reason to believe the Party violated FECA’s disclosure provisions, but lacked standing to challenge the Commission’s failure to find reason to believe the respondents violated FECA’s corporate contributions prohibition. The court then found that the controlling analysis in the Commission’s dismissal of the administrative complaint was contrary to law, and stated “by refusing to reveal the dollar value of True the Vote’s Georgia activities, information that (Common Cause alleges) FECA ‘requires . . . be publicly disclosed,’ the Commission has ‘den[ied]’ Common Cause access to information that would ‘help [its] efforts’ to reduce money’s influence in politics.”
The court ordered that the Commission conform with the court’s declaration regarding alleged disclosure violations within 30 days, and further ordered that plaintiffs’ action is otherwise dismissed without prejudice.
Source: FEC Record — November 2023
District Court (DC)
- Certification (10/17/2023)
- Federal Election Commission's Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (05/05/2023)
- Plaintiffs’ Combined Reply in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant’s Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment (04/13/2023)
- Federal Election Commission's Memorandum in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment and in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (03/17/2023)
- Federal Election Commission's Motion for Summary Judgment (03/17/2023)
- Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum of Points and Authorities Supporting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (02/16/2023)
- Defendant Federal Election Commission's Answer (12/16/2022)
- Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (10/10/2022)