Watchdogs Urge FEC to Reject Democratic Super PACs’ Request to Green-Light Illegal Coordination with Candidates


Today, the Campaign Legal Center, joined by Democracy 21, strongly urged the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to reject the request from Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC to follow the lead of a number of GOP Super PACs in breaking a variety of laws through coordinated activities with candidates.  The watchdog groups filed comments on the Advisory Opinion Request 2015-09, where the Super PACs outlined a number of proposed interactions with candidates that the requestors admit are illegal but state they will undertake themselves in the event of an FEC deadlock on the request. 

“These Super PACs are seeking FEC permission to break the law, as other candidates and committees have done, knowing full well that the Commission will deadlock on the questions, and announcing that they will break the law if they do not get a yes or no answer from the FEC,” said Paul S. Ryan, Campaign Legal Center Senior Counsel.  “Requestors are mistaken, however, in implying that an FEC deadlock amounts to approval of their proposed lawbreaking.  The laws passed by Congress are the laws of the land despite the complete breakdown of campaign finance law enforcement at the FEC and we will not hesitate to urge the Department of Justice to criminally investigate what would be knowing and willful violations of the law if these groups proceed with their plans.”

The twelve questions submitted by the Super PACs involve pre-candidacy activities, the conduct triggering federal candidacy and post-candidacy activities.  Many of these proposed activities have already been undertaken by current candidates and Super PACs and have drawn numerous complaints with the FEC and the Department of Justice from the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 and other groups.    

The comments filed today emphasize that the Advisory Opinion Request is not valid because it outlines only theoretical acts by unnamed future candidates and Super PACs while FEC regulations require requestors of advisory opinions to set forth a “specific transaction or activity” that they, themselves, plan to undertake. 

To read the comments filed today by the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 click here.