from The Center for Competitive Politics
August 23, 2011 02:30 PM
Sarah Lee, Communications Director
The Center for Competitive Politics
Settles National Defense PAC Case
ALEXANDRIA, Va. -- Following on the heels of a
decision in late July granting The National Defense PAC's (NDPAC)
motion to stay discovery in its case against the Federal Election
Commission (FEC), the FEC acknowledged yesterday that rules preventing
PACs from both contributing to candidates and conducting independent
expenditures were unconstitutional.
NDPAC was represented by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), Dan
Backer of DB Capitol Strategies, Benjamin Barr, and Stephen Hoersting.
Yesterday's settlement effectively forfeits the FEC's ability to
enforce regulations requiring separate PACs for independent
expenditures and candidate contributions, provided those activities are
conducted from segregated bank accounts. The settlement follows last
month's successful motion preventing the FEC from examining NDPAC's
documents, deposing its executives or otherwise subjecting the
organization to a burdensome investigation. It also gives permanent
effect to a preliminary injunction granted by the U.S. District Court
for the District of Columbia on June 14.
The gist of the argument made by CCP and co-counsel is that PACs should
not be burdened with the necessity of cloning themselves, and
twice the regulatory burden, in order to speak on political
Small, grass-roots organizations like NDPAC, are especially hard hit by
such requirements. The FEC's acknowledgement of this undue burden on
political association makes it easier for Americans to participate in
the political process.
Allen Dickerson, CCP Legal Director, was pleased with the decision.
"This is a major victory for grass-roots organizations that cannot
afford to comply with burdensome regulations, or hire a lawyer if those
regulations violate the constitution," he said. " In acknowledging the
unconstitutionality of its regulations, the FEC is making it easier for
average Americans to engage in political speech."
ruling has significant ramifications for all PACs, with non-connected
PACs most directly affected as they are all now, essentially, "Super
PACs may rely upon this ruling to solicit and accept unlimited
contributions from any individual, corporation, union, or association
(into one bank account) to conduct independent Expenditures while
continuing to solicit and accept amount and source restricted
contributions (into a separate bank account) for use in making direct
candidate contributions." - Dan Backer, Esq. /DB Capitol Strategies