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Schneider v. FEC


On August 20, 2008, Congressional Candidate Jan Schneider (FL/13) filed a complaint pursuant to 2 U.S.C. §437g(a)(8) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that the Commission had failed to act on an administrative complaint she filed against her general election opponent.


According to the court complaint, Ms. Schneider filed an administrative complaint with the FEC on March 17, 2008, alleging that her opponent, Christine Jennings (FL/13), and her political committees violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) during the 2004, 2006 and 2008 election cycles. The administrative complaint alleged that Ms. Jennings and her political committees withheld payroll taxes from campaign employees and then appropriated those funds for campaign purposes. Ms. Schneider alleged that these funds constitute excessive contributions from employees to the campaign. The complaint also alleged the committees violated reporting requirements by failing to disclose tax payments accurately and in a timely manner. The complaint further alleged the violations caused "irreparable harm" to Ms. Schneider, who ran against Ms. Jennings in the 2004 and 2006 primary elections and is currently running against her in the 2008 general election.

The Act provides that the Commission has 120 days from receipt of an administrative complaint before a complainant can file suit against the Commission alleging a failure to act, and 30 days to comply with any subsequent court declaration that the Commission has unlawfully failed to act. The Commission had only two members for several months during 2008 and did not have the four affirmative votes required to take certain actions in handling an administrative complaint.


Ms. Schneider asked the court to declare that the Commission’s alleged failure to act on the administrative complaint is contrary to law; direct the FEC to rule on the merits of the complaint within thirty days; and take such further or different actions as the court may deem just and proper.

Source:   FEC RecordOctober 2008


District Court (DC)

Court decisions: