Roll Call: Parties Poised to Exploit Broad New Rules
Having been approved with no public notice or comment, the new rules raise some tough questions said Lenhard, a former chairman of the FEC: “This is a statute that was passed without any committee hearings, without any statutory definitions, without any legislative history whatsoever.”
Legal funds, for example, could potentially be spent in any number of ways — and as yet, campaign finance lawyers don’t have ready answers. The new rules specify that parties may raise additional funds in accounts “to defray expenses incurred with respect to the preparation for and the conduct of election recounts and contests and other legal proceedings.”
But what is meant by legal proceedings? Could it, for example, be interpreted to include the Republican Party’s legal challenge to the Obama administration’s alleged abuses of executive power? Or to help pay for additional legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act?
“I don’t know,” said Trevor Potter, another former chairman of the FEC and president of the Campaign Legal Center. “None of us know.” He added: “I haven’t seen any legislative history. I’ve just seen these provisions. They’re pretty broadly drafted.”
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