Bloomberg BNA: FEC Rarely Votes to Refer Criminal Cases to Justice


Lawrence Noble, who served as FEC general counsel for 13 years until 2000, told Bloomberg BNA recently that, in his experience, it was always rare for the agency to formally refer a case to DOJ for prosecution.

Noble, now a senior counsel with the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center, noted that the federal campaign finance law requires the FEC to conduct a full investigation and make a probable cause finding before such a referral is made. Even at that point, the FEC has authority to pursue enforcement action on its own either through settlement talks or by filing a civil enforcement lawsuit in federal court.


Even without a renewed formal memo, cooperation between the FEC and DOJ at the staff level has been fairly extensive during some periods in the past, according to Noble and other former FEC officials.

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