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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. FEC (84-3352)


On November 2, 1984, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order denying plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction in Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. FEC (Civil Action No. 84-3352).


In its suit, filed on November 2, 1984, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (the Committee) had sought action against the FEC for the agency's failure to expedite action on an administrative complaint the Committee had filed on October 22, 1984. In light of the November 6 general election, the Committee's administrative complaint had asked the FEC to initiate expedited enforcement proceedings against the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee for their alleged violations of the election law. In its civil complaint, the Committee asked the court to enter a permanent injunction directing the Commission to institute expedited enforcement proceedings concerning the violations of the election law alleged in the Committee's complaint. The Committee also asked the court to establish and announce the compliance standards no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 2, 1984.

In addition, the Committee sought a preliminary injunction ordering the Commission to give expedited consideration to the Committee's administrative complaint and to announce its determination on that complaint no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 2, 1984.

District court ruling

On November 2, 1984, the district court denied the Committee's motion for a preliminary injunction. The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to require the Commission to make an expedited decision on the Committee's administrative complaint because 120 days had not yet elapsed since the Committee had filed the complaint with the FEC. See 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8)(A). In addition, the court stated that it clearly lacked authority to direct the Commission to shorten the time period set forth in the Act's enforcement provisions because Congress had given that authority to the Commission's discretion.


The Committee filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit but later asked the court to dismiss it. On December 14, 1984, the court granted the Committee's motion and dismissed the appeal.

Source:   FEC RecordFebruary 1985; December 1984