CLCA and ECU Sue FEC To Take Action on Super PAC Coordination

Rick Scott standing behind a podium with his name and an outline of the state of Florida on the front surrounded by several other people
Rick Scott steps up to the stage with his wife Ann (left) at his midterm election night party in Naples, Florida, U.S. November 6, 2018. Photo by Reuters/Joe Skipper

Campaign Legal Center Action (CLCA) and End Citizens United (ECU) sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Aug. 9, 2021 after the Commission deadlocked, dismissing ECU’s complaint regarding coordination between Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and a super PAC. 

ECU had filed a complaint with the FEC to hold Scott accountable for coordination with New Republican PAC, a super PAC which spent over $29 million supporting his election during the 2018 election cycle.   

At the heart of the complaint is the fact that Scott, who served as chairman of the super political action committee (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 former President Donald 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, ECU 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.   

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.  

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.  

Gridlock at the FEC is undermining the agency’s ability to enforce anti-corruption campaign finance laws, which is why we need to enact the For the People Act 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. To reduce political corruption, we need a stronger FEC to enforce campaign finance laws and hold political candidates and their donors accountable. Congress must overhaul the FEC and permanently break this cycle. 

Georgia is a Communications Assistant at CLC.
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