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McDonald v. FEC



Mr. George T. McDonald, a 1984 candidate for a House seat representing New York's 15th Congressional district, filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking review of the FEC's dismissal of an administrative complaint (Civil Action No. 84-2710). In his complaint, filed with the FEC on May 9, 1984, Mr. McDonald claimed that Andrew Stein, a state official opposing him for the House seat, had used funds from his 1981 campaign committee for state office (Stein '81) to finance his 1984 Congressional campaign (Stein for Congress '84). Specifically, Mr. McDonald alleged that Mr. Stein had illegally used state campaign funds (consisting of corporate contributions and unrepaid loans) to make media expenditures for his Congressional candidacy.

On May 4, 1984, the respondent had submitted a request to the FEC for an investigation into specific expenditures made by the 1981 state campaign on behalf of Mr. Stein. The FEC then merged the respondent's request (i.e., a pre-Matter Under Review (MUR)) with Mr. McDonald's administrative complaint.

Mr. McDonald asked the court to declare that:

  • The FEC's dismissal of his administrative complaint was contrary to law;
  • The FEC's merger of his administrative complaint with the respondent's request limited the scope of the FEC's investigation, resulting in an arbitrary dismissal of Mr. McDonald's complaint; and
  • The FEC must comply with these declarations within 30 days.

District court ruling

On October 5, 1984, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the FEC's motion to dismiss George T. McDonald v. FEC on grounds that Mr. McDonald had failed to pursue his legal claims and to meet the statutory deadline for filing his suit. See 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8)(B).

Source:   FEC RecordDecember 1984; October 1984. McDonald v. FEC, No. 84-2710, (D.D.C. October 5, 1984).