LaRouche's Committee for a New Bretton Woods v. FEC
On March 3, 2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals found that the FEC acted appropriately when it determined that the Lyndon LaRouche’s Committee for a New Bretton Woods must repay $222,034 in federal matching funds received during Mr. LaRouche’s bid for the 2000 Democratic presidential nomination.
All presidential campaigns must submit to an audit by the FEC if they accept public matching funds during the primary campaign. The LaRouche committee received $1,448,389 in federal matching funds. The majority of these funds were paid to seven vendors that provided fundraising and advertising services for the past three nominations that LaRouche had sought; LaRouche was the vendors’ sole client. The committee received $222,034 in public funds in connection with "mark-up charges” paid to these vendors. The FEC found that the committee had not provided adequate documentation for these mark-up charges and thus they were not qualified campaign expenses.
Ruling on motion to dismiss
On July 29, 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia granted the Commission's motion to dismiss this case. On April 9, 2004, LaRouche's Committee for a New Bretton Woods (LCNBW) had asked the court to review the FEC's final determination requiring the committee to repay to the U.S. Treasury a portion of the Presidential primary matching funds it received for the 2000 Presidential election. The March 1, 2004, repayment determination resulted from LCNBW's non-qualified campaign expenses and its receipt of funds in excess of its entitlement.
On April 27, 2004, the Commission moved to dismiss this case on the ground that the court lacked jurisdiction because LCNBW is also concurrently seeking an administrative reconsideration from the Commission. The court concluded that the appeal was premature because LCNBW had filed with the Commission a timely petition for reconsideration, and the committee may not seek judicial review until the rehearing has concluded.
Ruling on repayment determination
The court confirmed that the committee did not prove to the FEC that these charges were a qualified campaign expense; therefore, the FEC’s order that the committee must repay the charges was not “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law,” as the committee had alleged. Additionally, the court held that the committee had not expressly sought judicial review of LaRouche’s petition for administrative rehearing and, therefore, the court did not have jurisdiction to reconsider that issue.