skip navigation
Here's how you know US flag signifying that this is a United States Federal Government website

An official website of the United States government

Here's how you know

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

  • FEC Record: Litigation

Independence Institute v. FEC (Supreme Court)

February 28, 2017

On February 27, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in this case. Independence Institute had challenged the constitutionality of the electioneering communications disclosure provisions in federal campaign finance laws.


In September 2014, the Independence Institute filed suit contending that the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act's (BCRA’s) disclosure requirements for electioneering communications are overbroad as applied to a proposed radio advertisement and violate the First Amendment because the advertisement represented "genuine issue advocacy." Plaintiffs also argued that BCRA's electioneering communications disclosure requirements could not constitutionally apply to advertisements financed by a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

On October 6, 2014, the district court found the plaintiff's challenge to be foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent, principally by Citizens United v. FEC, concluded that a three-judge court was not warranted, and dismissed the case in its entirety. After a panel of the Court of Appeals remanded the case and ordered a three-judge district court to be convened, the three-judge court rejected the plaintiff's challenge and granted the FEC's motion for summary judgment.

On November 10, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a direct appeal of the three-judge court’s decision with the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court order

The Supreme Court issued an order on February 27, 2017, that affirms the three-judge district court’s decision. The Supreme Court’s order leaves in place the BCRA’s electioneering communication disclosure provisions.


  • Author 
    • Dorothy Yeager
    • Enterprise Resource Analyst