skip navigation
Here's how you know US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

SSL

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Free Speech for People v. FEC (19-1722)

Summary

On March 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed with prejudice a suit brought against the Commission by Free Speech For People challenging the Commission’s alleged failure to act on its administrative complaint.

Background

According to its court complaint, Free Speech For People (the plaintiff) filed an administrative complaint with the FEC alleging that American Media, Inc., Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Donald J. Trump, and Michael Cohen violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) by unlawfully arranging a payment of $150,000 to Karen McDougal for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election. The plaintiff alleged that the Commission has failed to resolve its complaint and that it had standing to bring action because it "lacks essential information about the financing of the 2016 election as a result of the FEC’s failure to act."

Dismissal

The Commission moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue. The court found that the plaintiff knows from publicly available information that American Media, Inc. and Michael Cohen admitted involvement in the making of an in-kind contribution, and the source, amount, purpose, and date of the payment that was made. As the Act requires no further information about the payment to be revealed, the court found that the plaintiff did not suffer an informational injury sufficient to establish standing and granted the Commission’s motion to dismiss the case.

Source: FEC RecordMarch 2020; June 2019

Documents