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Frequently asked questions about political spending transparency
On June 30, 2020, CLC filed suit against the FEC for failing to act on our administrative complaint demonstrating that Iowa Values, a nonprofit 501(c)(4) corporation, violated federal campaign finance law by failing to register as a political committee and publicly disclose its donors. CLC's administrative complaint had been pending with the FEC for over 190 days.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on July 6, 2020 that states have the authority to require presidential electors to vote for the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state.
On May 6, 2020, Plaintiff-Appellant Rio Grande Foundation filed its opening brief with the Tenth Circuit in Rio Grande Foundation v. City of Santa Fe. RGF is seeking to overturn the district court’s decision upholding Santa Fe’s disclosure law.
On June 26, 2020, Defendants-Appellees the City of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Ethics & Campaign Review Board filed their principal brief in Rio Grande Foundation v. City of Santa Fe. The brief urges the Tenth Circuit to affirm the lower court decision, which upheld the constitutionality of Santa Fe’s important electoral transparency law.
CLC filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that "Pacific Atlantic Action Coalition" and "Pacific Environmental Coalition," which together have given over $1 million to Democratic super PACs since 2018, violated the ban on making political contributions in the name of another.
On March 24, 2020, CLC filed suit against the FEC for failing to act on an administrative complaint demonstrating that 45Committee violated federal campaign finance law by failing to register as a political committee and disclose its donors. The administrative complaint had been pending for 575 days.
On June 6, 2020, CLC filed a motion for default judgment against the FEC, after the FEC failed to make an appearance or otherwise act to defend the lawsuit. The motion demonstrates that CLC is entitled to judgment in its favor.
Campaign Legal Center (CLC) filed comments with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging the agency to close the "Bloomberg Billionaire Loophole" in response to an advisory opinion request from a self-financing candidate seeking to transfer funds in excess of contribution limits to a national party committee.
CLC filed a letter with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) urging the agency to proceed with several long-pending rulemaking matters pertaining to digital ad disclaimers, "zombie campaigns," abuses of leadership PAC funds, donor transparency, and more.
CLC submitted written comments to the state of Washington's Public Disclosure Commission regarding the adoption of two amendments to a campaign finance act that would protect elections from foreign interference.
CLC filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that the Democratic dark money group Big Tent Project Fund, which spent nearly $5 million in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary and appears to have a major purpose of influencing federal elections, violated the law by failing to register as a political committee and publicly disclose its donors.
CLC filed an amicus brief in the D.C. Circuit on October 29, 2019 urging it to set aside the district court decision in CREW v. FEC (New Models). The lower court found that the FEC’s post-deadlock dismissal of CREW’s enforcement complaint was not subject to judicial review because the two no-voting commissioners included a passing reference to “prosecutorial discretion” in their statement of reasons for the dismissal.
CLC and Issue One filed a brief in the United States Supreme Court, arguing that states are permitted to require presidential electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their home state, and showing that federal and state laws are not currently sufficient to ensure the transparency and legitimacy of the electoral college voting process if the electors are unbound.
On April 28, 2020 the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Chiafalo v. Washington (linked with Colorado Department of State v. Baca), a constitutional challenge to the requirement that presidential electors – the people who physically cast their state’s electoral votes – must vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their state.
CLC released a report that highlights recent examples of groups exploiting gaps in campaign finance law to keep voters in the dark about online political ads. Among other examples, it points to two dark money groups, Big Tent Project Fund and Fellow Americans, that reported millions in ad spending to the Federal Election Commission, but only a small fraction of that spending is appearing in large digital platforms' public archives. These examples provide a compelling case for Congress to adopt across-the-board digital disclosure legislation.