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End Citizens United PAC v. FEC (21-1665)

Summary

On April 18, 2022, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a suit brought against the Commission by End Citizens United PAC (Plaintiff). The Plaintiff challenged the Commission’s dismissal of its administrative complaint against Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (the Trump Campaign).

Background

The administrative complaint, filed with the Commission on May 9, 2019, alleged that the Trump Campaign violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) by soliciting and directing funds to America First Action, a Super PAC, without regard to the Act’s source prohibitions and contribution limits.

On April 20, 2021, after a vote to find reason to believe that the Trump Campaign violated the Act failed to secure the necessary four votes, the Commission closed the file.

In its subsequent court filing, the Plaintiff claimed that the Commission's failure to find reason to believe was arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, and sought a judicial declaration to that effect as well as an order requiring the Commission to conform to that declaration within 30 days.

Analysis

The court held that since the controlling Commissioners relied on prosecutorial discretion as a basis for voting against reason to believe, the dismissal was not subject to judicial review. Lacking the authority to review the dismissal, the court denied the Plaintiff’s motion for default judgment and dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

Source: FEC RecordMay 2022; June 2021

Documents

District Court (DC)

Court decisions:

Related documents: