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  • FEC Record: Advisory opinions

AO 2019-16: Unauthorized committee’s use of abbreviation of candidate's name

June 23, 2020

An unauthorized committee may include a candidate’s initials in its registered name because the initials do not constitute the “name” of a candidate under the facts presented.


Philip Shemanski sought to register an unauthorized political committee aimed at “the defeat of Donald Trump’s 2020 Presidential re-election bid” using the initials “DT” in the name of the committee.


The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits “any political committee which is not an authorized committee” of a candidate from including “the name of any candidate in its name.”

The Commission concluded that the initials “DT” do not constitute the name of a candidate since the initials are an abbreviation, not a full first or last name or nickname, and are not commonly used to refer to President Trump. The Commission also noted that there are at least two other federal officeholders up for re-election in 2020 with the initials “DT.” Accordingly, the Commission allowed the initials “DT” to be included in the unauthorized committee’s registered name.

Date issued: June 18, 2020; Length: 3 pages



52 U.S.C. §30102
Organization of political committees


  • Author 
    • Mary Ann Baker
    • Communications Specialist