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National Republican Senatorial Committee et al v. Federal Election Commission et al (22-639)

Summary

On January 19, 2024, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio certified to the en banc court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit a constitutional challenge to the Act’s coordinated party expenditure limits. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), Senator J.D. Vance, and former Representative Steve Chabot (plaintiffs) ask whether the limits at 52 U.S.C. § 30116 violate the First Amendment, either on their face or as applied to party spending in connection with party coordinated communications as defined in 11 CFR 109.37.

Background

Under the Act, a national party committee and state party committee may make expenditures in connection with the general election campaigns of federal candidates that are coordinated with those candidates. These coordinated party expenditures do not count against the contribution limits but are subject to a separate set of limits. These limits are based on the office sought and the relevant voting-age population, and are adjusted annually for inflation.

According to the plaintiffs, limiting the expenditures a party may make in coordination with its nominees unconstitutionally abridges the party’s First Amendment rights.

The district court determined that at least one individual and one committee plaintiff have standing to bring suit and that they raise a nonfrivolous constitutional challenge to the coordinated party expenditure limits found in the Act. Accordingly, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion to certify the question to the en banc court of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Source: FEC RecordFebruary 2024; November 2022