Campaign Legal Center Action and End Citizens United File Lawsuit Against the FEC After Deadlock on Sen. Rick Scott’s Blatant Super PAC Coordination
Under the law, candidates for federal office are barred from coordination with super PACs and other outside groups supporting their candidacy.
Washington, D.C. - Today, Campaign Legal Center Action (CLCA) and End Citizens United (ECU) sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) after the Commission deadlocked, dismissing ECU’s complaint against Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida).
ECU had filed a complaint with the FEC to hold Sen. Scott accountable for coordination with New Republican PAC, a super PAC which spent over $29 million supporting his election during the 2018 cycle.
At the heart of the complaint is the fact that Scott, who served as chairman of the super PAC from May 2017 until the end of that year and employed several close allies, raised significant funds for the group before launching his bid for Senate in April 2018. During that time, the group’s stated purpose was to support President Trump. On the day of Scott’s declaration, New Republican PAC declared in a press release that it was now “focused on the election of Rick Scott” and spent significantly to support his election.
Despite the FEC’s general counsel concluding there was reason to believe Scott broke the law and recommending further investigation, the FEC dismissed the complaint, split 3-3 in a deadlock along party lines.
In response to this dismissal, End Citizens United is now filing a lawsuit, asking the court to direct the FEC to take action against Scott for illegally using his super PAC to raise and spend millions of dollars on his Senate campaign.
This is another example of gridlock at the FEC undermining its ability to enforce anti-corruption campaign finance laws and why we need to enact the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1) to reform the FEC. The For the People Act would restructure the FEC’s enforcement process, making it a more effective watchdog that enforces the law.
“Once again, the FEC is betraying the American people by allowing massive election cheating to go unpunished,” said Adav Noti, Senior Director of Trial Litigation and Chief of Staff at CLC Action, and former Associate General Counsel of the FEC. “While we are confident the courts will hold the FEC and Senator Scott accountable, our nation needs and deserves an election enforcement agency that actually enforces the law. Congress must overhaul the FEC and permanently break this cycle.”
“The FEC’s refusal to enforce the law and allow politicians like Senator Rick Scott to blatantly break campaign finance rules is an affront to the American people and undermines our free and fair elections,” said Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United. “No political candidate should be allowed to get away with breaking the law to win an election and if we have to use the courts to get the FEC to enforce the law, we will continue to do so. But it’s a short-term action that doesn’t solve the bigger problem. Congress must step in and pass the For the People Act to reform the FEC and stop political candidates from engaging in these corrupt practices to win elections.”
Federal law and FEC regulations prohibit candidates from soliciting contributions to super PACs unless certain critical measures are taken to ensure that the solicited contributions comply with federal contribution limits and prohibitions. Senator Scott took no such measures during his time leading New Republican PAC, instead raising millions of dollars which were later used to support his election. By dismissing this case, the FEC is yet again showing that it is not the effective watchdog this country needs.
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