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Lieu, et al. v. FEC

Summary

On February 28, 2019, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a suit brought against the Commission by Representative Ted Lieu, Representative Walter Jones, Senator Jeff Merkley, State Senator John Howe, Zephyr Teachout, and Michael Wager (“Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs alleged that the Commission had relied on an “unlawful ruling” in SpeechNow.org v. FEC to dismiss a complaint against several Super PACs.

Plaintiffs' administrative complaint had alleged that those Super PACs had knowingly accepted contributions in excess of the limits set by the Federal Election Campaign Act. The Commission dismissed the administrative complaint, citing SpeechNow.org v. FEC. Upon dismissal of the administrative complaint, Plaintiffs asked the court to declare the Commission’s actions “contrary to law.” The court noted that the Plaintiffs' allegations “fall squarely within the holding of SpeechNow,” and concluded that the Commission’s dismissal of Plaintiffs' administrative complaint was not contrary to law because the Commission properly applied the D.C. Circuit’s en banc ruling in that case.

On October 3, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a per curiam order finding the plaintiffs’ motion to hold in abeyance moot and granting the Commission’s motion for summary affirmance. The court also found the Commission’s decision to dismiss the administrative complaint was not contrary to law because contributions to Super PACs could not constitutionally be prohibited under SpeechNow.org v. FEC.

Source:   FEC Record — October 2019; March 2019; December 2016


Documents

Supreme Court

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Appeals Court (DC Circuit)

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District Court (DC)

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