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  • FEC Record: Litigation

District Court grants motion to dismiss in Free Speech For People v. FEC (19-1722)

March 4, 2020

On March 2, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed with prejudice a suit brought against the Commission by Free Speech For People challenging the Commission’s alleged failure to act on its administrative complaint.

Background

According to its court complaint, Free Speech For People (the plaintiff) filed an administrative complaint with the FEC alleging that American Media, Inc., Donald J. Trump for President, Inc., Donald J. Trump, and Michael Cohen violated the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) by unlawfully arranging a payment of $150,000 to Karen McDougal for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election. The plaintiff alleged that the Commission has failed to resolve its complaint and that it had standing to bring action because it "lacks essential information about the financing of the 2016 election as a result of the FEC’s failure to act."

Dismissal

The Commission moved to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue. The court found that the plaintiff knows from publicly available information that American Media, Inc. and Michael Cohen admitted involvement in the making of an in-kind contribution, and the source, amount, purpose, and date of the payment that was made. As the Act requires no further information about the payment to be revealed, the court found that the plaintiff did not suffer an informational injury sufficient to establish standing and granted the Commission’s motion to dismiss the case.

Resources

  • Author 
    • Paul Stoetzer
    • Sr. Communications Specialist
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