FEC v. NRA (81-1218)
On April 27, 1983, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a consent decree resolving claims brought by the FEC against the National Rifle Association of America (NRA), an incorporated association; the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), NRA's lobbying organization; and the NRA Political Victory Fund (PVF), NRA's separate segregated fund (Civil Action No. 81-1218).
The FEC filed suit against the defendants in May 1981, claiming that they had violated 2 U.S.C. §441b(a), which prohibits corporations from making contributions in connection with federal elections. Specifically, the FEC alleged that:
- NRA and ILA had made corporate expenditures in connection with the 1978 and 1980 Congressional elections and the 1980 Presidential elections;
- NRA and ILA had made corporate contributions to PVF in the form of advanced payments of expenditures on behalf of PVF, for which they were later reimbursed by PVF; and
- PVF had received corporate contributions by accepting (and subsequently reimbursing) the advanced payments of expenditures by NRA and ILA.
On January 6, 1983, the court dismissed, without prejudice, a portion of the FEC's claims, namely, allegations related to NRA's purchase of certain goods and services for PVF that had resulted in a violation of 2 U.S.C. §441b(a). The court found that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction over these specific factual allegations because the FEC had not undertaken conciliation with respect to them.
By the terms of the court's April 27 consent decree, the defendants agreed that:
- They will no longer engage in those activities alleged in the FEC's complaint which were not dismissed as part of the court's January 6, 1983, order.
- They will no longer spend corporate funds in connection with any federal election or otherwise engage in political activities prohibited by 2 U.S.C. §441b(a).
- They will limit partisan communications to NRA's restricted class of personnel (as specified by 2 U.S.C. §431(8)(B)(vi)).
- They will limit corporate expenditures in connection with federal elections to those exempt activities explicitly permitted by the Act and FEC regulations.
Source: FEC Record — June 1983. FEC v. National Rifle Association, 553 F. Supp. 1331 (D.D.C. 1983).