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On March 10, 1988, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the FEC's motion to vacate two writs of attachment filed by creditors of Americans with Hart, Inc., Gary Hart's 1984 publicly funded Presidential campaign. The court also dismissed the FEC as a party to the cases and remanded the cases to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. (Xerox Corp. v. Americans with Hart, Inc. and Harry Kroll v. Americans with Hart, Inc.; Civil Action Nos. 88-0086 and 88-0211, respectively.) The court has not yet acted on the FEC's motion to dismiss a third writ of attachment filed by Semper-Moses Associates, Inc., another creditor of the 1984 Hart campaign.


The Commission declared Gary Hart eligible to receive matching funds on December 28, 1987, 13 days after his decision to reenter the 1988 campaign for the Presidency.

On December 28, 1987, and again on January 12, 1988, the Commission was served with writs of attachment for assets belonging to the 1984 Hart campaign. The General Counsel filed motions with the district court which sought to have the writs vacated. Because the creditors who served the writs were in litigation with the 1984 Hart campaign, the Commission also authorized the General Counsel to send letters advising the creditors that no federal statute authorized diversion of matching funds by the government to any other party. Moreover, the letters said that any attempt to execute a creditor's judgment against funds of the United States government would be barred by sovereign immunity.

In addition, the letters noted that the Commission did not possess any assets which belonged to the 1984 Hart campaign. The Commission had certified that Hart was eligible to receive matching funds for his 1988 Presidential nomination campaign. The 1988 campaign was called Friends of Gary Hart-1988, Inc., a separate corporate entity from Americans with Hart.

In conclusion, the letters explained that the Commission did not hold any matching payments that the candidate might be entitled to; nor did it make the actual payment of primary matching funds. Under the Presidential Account Primary Matching Payment Account Act, the Commission determines the eligibility of candidates to receive matching funds and certifies the amount the candidate is to receive to the Secretary of the Treasury. The Secretary, not the Commission, is responsible for making the payment.

Source:   FEC Record -- May 1988, p. 6