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National Congressional Club v. FEC


On February 14, 1985, the National Congressional Club (NCC), a multicandidate political committee, and Jefferson Marketing, Inc. (JMI), a North Carolina corporation that provides media services to political committees, voluntarily dismissed a suit they had filed against the FEC. Plaintiffs had filed their suit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on January 29, 1985. (Civil Action No. 85-0299.)

In their suit, NCC and JMI sought action against the FEC with regard to the agency's processing of two compliance actions (i.e., matters under review or MURs). The compliance actions were filed against NCC and JMI by Congressman Charles E. Rose (MUR 1503) and the Democratic Party of North Carolina (MUR 1792). In his complaint, filed in October 1982, Congressman Rose alleged that, among other things, JMI had provided media services to his 1982 primary election opponents at less than fair market value, resulting in a prohibited corporate contribution from JMI to the candidates.[1] In the ensuing investigation, the General Counsel's office also found that a special relationship may have existed between NCC and JMI. In MUR 1792, the Democratic Party of North Carolina included, among its claims, an allegation concerning the NCC/JMI relationship.

NCC and JMI asked the court to find that the FEC's actions with regard to MURs 1503 and 1792 violated the election law, as well as the First and Fifth Amendments, and were contrary to law. Plaintiffs based these claims on the following allegations:

  • The FEC refused to consolidate MURs 1503 and 1792, as requested by plaintiffs NCC and JMI.
  • The FEC failed to give NCC and JMI adequate notice of the factual and legal bases for the agency's "reason to believe" determinations in MUR 1503.
  • Before finding "reason to believe" that NCC and JMI were related, the FEC found "probable cause to believe" that, based on their relationship, the two organizations had violated the election law's ban on corporate contributions.
  • The FEC refused to give NCC and JMI an opportunity to respond to the General Counsel's position on the FEC's authority to find "probable cause to believe" NCC and JMI were related before finding "reason to believe" they were related.
  • The FEC took final action on MUR 1503 despite NCC's and JMI's allegations that the agency had violated the election law in processing the complaint.

NCC and JMI also sought an injunction requiring the Commission to comply with provisions of the election law and the Constitution.


[1] See also Rose v. FEC.

Source:   FEC RecordMarch 1985