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On May 5, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed suit against Heritage Action for America, a secret money group that spent more than $300,000 expressly advocating for congressional candidates in 2018. The suit alleges that Heritage Action failed to report its contributors as required by federal campaign finance law.
Kedric Payne, Campaign Legal Center's (CLC) vice president, general counsel, and senior director, ethics, testified on the Supreme Court’s approach to ethics, transparency and accountability. His testimony focused on how the Supreme Court’s ethics rules lag behind the executive and legislative branches.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) submitted this written statement for the record as part of a May 2022 hearing on "Laws and Enforcement Governing the Political Activities of Tax-Exempt Entities" conducted by the United States Senate Committee on Finance. CLC’s statement summarizes what more should be done to protect voters’ right to transparent political campaigns amidst ongoing misuse of federal nonprofit and tax code rules to hide the true sources of election spending.
On May 2, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that William Pulte and/or unknown contributors violated the federal straw donor ban by making a $500,000 contribution in the name of “ML Organization, LLC," an obscure Delaware limited liability company, to “Make America Great Again, Again!”, a super PAC that is closely aligned with former President Donald J. Trump and intends to support Trump-endorsed candidates in the 2022 midterm congressional elections.
On March 7, 2022, the Rhode Island State Board of Elections Respondents filed a brief in the Supreme Court in opposition to a petition seeking review of the state’s top-five donor disclaimer requirement, which requires groups to disclose their top five largest contributors on certain electioneering ads. Along with the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) served as outside co-counsel to the respondents in the Supreme Court.
On April 22, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed suit against 45Committee, a secret money group that spent as much as $38 million in 2016 to help elect former President Donald Trump. The suit alleges that 45Committee failed to register as a political committee as required by federal law, thereby avoiding disclosure of its donors and spending.
On April 21, 2022, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Election Commission failed to conform with the court’s Nov. 8, 2021 order directing the agency to end its delay in acting on CLC’s allegations against 45Committee, and accordingly, ordered that CLC may bring an action to enforce FECA against 45Committee.
On April 11, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) submitted a statement in support of the proposed Democracy Dollars program in Oakland to the Oakland Public Ethics Commission. The Democracy Dollars program would establish a voucher-based public financing system for several elected offices in Oakland, California.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) found reason to believe that Zekelman Industries, Inc., Wheatland Tube, LLC, and Barry Zekelman violated the foreign national contribution ban and issued a record-breaking $975,000 civil penalty. The decision follows a 2019 complaint filed by Campaign Legal Center (CLC.)
On April 6, 2022, CLC submitted a letter to the New Hampshire House Committee on Judiciary urging the committee to oppose Senate Bill 302, an anti-transparency bill that would make it more difficult for the public to know who is spending big money to influence New Hampshire government and elections.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) has sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for its delay in acting on CLC’s administrative complaint alleging that then-President Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign committee (and an associated fundraising committee) violated federal campaign finance reporting requirements. The lawsuit is based on an administrative complaint CLC filed with the FEC in July 2020 and supplemented in January 2021, which alleged that the committees routed payments to campaign vendors through firms with close ties to the campaign, concealing the details of the committees’ spending from the public.
On Nov. 8, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) failure to act on Campaign Legal Center’s (CLC) administrative complaint against 45Committee is “contrary to law” and ordered the FEC to conform by taking action on CLC’s administrative complaint within 30 days.
On March 25, 2022, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found that the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) failure to act on Campaign Legal Center’s (CLC) administrative complaint against Heritage Action is “contrary to law” and ordered the FEC to conform by taking action on CLC’s administrative complaint within 30 days.
On March 23, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) submitted additional comments to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding REG 2021-02, a rulemaking proposed by CLC and the Center on Science & Technology Policy at Duke University to close the subvendor loophole and ensure transparency about where campaign money is ultimately spent.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, or Senate Ethics Committee, to disclose whether it authorized senior committee staff members’ stock holdings that appear to violate Senate rules, which ban ownership of stocks that conflict with their employing committee’s jurisdiction.
On March 11, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) submitted comments to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding the agency’s improper codification of “hybrid” political committees through the adoption of revisions to FEC Form 1. The FEC took this action without notice and an opportunity for public comment in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The 2012 Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act failed in its objectives to prevent corruption or its appearance and ensure that Congress prioritizes the public over their own interests. This failure has made it clear that transparency alone is not enough to penalize insider trading and increase public trust, and CLC’s calls for meaningful reform reflect this unsustainable status quo.
On Feb. 28, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that unknown contributors violated the straw donor ban by making $50,000 in contributions to Saving Arizona PAC in the name of “Iho Araise LLC."
On Feb. 18, 2022, Campaign Legal Center (CLC) Action, on behalf of plaintiff Giffords, filed a brief opposing motions to dismiss Giffords’ lawsuit against two NRA affiliates, Josh Hawley for Senate and Matt Rosendale for Montana. Giffords’ lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated federal campaign finance laws by engaging in a coordination scheme that resulted in tens of millions in illegal campaign contributions, and Giffords’ brief explains why the defendants should not be permitted to evade responsibility for their violations by seeking dismissal of the suit.