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Giffords v. FEC (19-1192)



On April 24, 2019, Giffords, a 501(c)(4) organization founded and led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, filed suit in the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge the Commission’s alleged failure to act on its administrative complaints.

According to the court filing, the Giffords organization has filed four separate administrative complaints over the past nine months alleging that the National Rifle Association (NRA) violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) by using shell corporations and common vendors to coordinate expenditures with at least seven federal candidates. Giffords claims none of the complaints have been acted upon, and that more than 120 days have passed since their filing.

The Act permits those aggrieved by a “failure of the Commission to act” on an administrative complaint during the 120-day period after its filing to file a petition with the Court. Giffords asks the Court to declare the Commission’s failure to act on its administrative complaints contrary to law under 52 U.S.C. § 30109(a)(8)(A). Giffords also seeks an order requiring the Commission to conform with that declaration within 30 days.

Court decision

On September 30, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment to Giffords and denied the FEC's motion to dismiss or in the alternative for summary judgment. The court concluded that the basic facts of the case were not in dispute and found that the Commission "unreasonably delayed its consideration" of the administrative complaints.

Source: FEC RecordOctober 2021; May 2019