Watchdogs’ Filing Reminds FEC that it Has No Authority to Declare Federal Laws Unconstitutional


Late yesterday, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, filed comments in response to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) Advisory Opinion Request (AOR) 2013-09, which asks the agency to exceed its authority by declaring a statute unconstitutional and announcing that the agency will no longer enforce the statute—even though the Supreme Court has upheld the statute as constitutional.

Specifically, the AOR submitted on behalf of Special Operations Speaks PAC (“SOS PAC”) and U.S. Senate candidate Col. Robert L. Maness, asks whether the PAC may make, and the candidate accept, a contribution exceeding the $2,600 limit applicable to non-multicandidate political committees, up to the $5,000 limit applicable to multicandidate political committees despite the fact the SOS freely admits it has not and will not meet the requirement that it contribute to five or more candidates for federal office in order to qualify as a multicandidate political committee.

In the AOR itself, the requestors acknowledge that the U.S. Supreme Court has reviewed and upheld the requirements for multicandidate committees as a constitutionally permissible means to prevent circumvention of contribution limits.

“The Supreme Court has upheld the requirements in question, yet the requestors ask the FEC to ignore and exceed the limits of its authority and declare them unconstitutional,” said Paul S. Ryan, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel. “Such an outrageous request, filed by campaign finance attorneys as seasoned as those retained by the requestors, would certainly seem to point to plans for protracted litigation.”

The comments strongly urge the FEC to reject the request and to prepare to defend the law in court against an expected challenge by the requestors.

To read the comments, click here.