Loading...

Appeals Court Upholds 2014 FEC Decision

April 21, 2021 by TWN Staff
The seal of the Federal Election Commission is printed on window awnings outside its headquarters Oct. 24, 2016 in Washington, D.C. The Senate on Wednesday confirmed three new commissioners, giving it a full slate for the first time since 2017. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission cannot be second-guessed on a 2014 decision on an administrative complaint because it relied in part on “prosecutorial discretion” in rendering that decision, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The holding by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, affirmed a lower court’s grant of summary judgment to the commission.

In doing so, the court stated that because the commission relied in part on prosecutorial discretion when dismissing the plaintiffs’ administrative complaint, the dismissal was not subject to judicial review.

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Noah Bookbinder filed an administrative complaint with the commission on Sept. 18, 2014, alleging New Models, a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by failing to register and report as a political committee.

After reviewing the complaint and response, the commission voted 2-2 on whether to proceed. The commissioners who voted against proceeding issued a statement of reasons explaining the basis for their decision. These “controlling commissioners” concluded New Models was not a political committee and chose to exercise prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the case.

Plaintiffs filed suit against the commission in district court, alleging that the dismissal was contrary to law. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the commission, citing CREW v. FEC, in which the court held that a commission decision not to pursue enforcement based on prosecutorial discretion is not subject to judicial review under the Act.

In CREW v. FEC, the court held that the commission has “unreviewable” prosecutorial discretion to determine whether to bring an enforcement action. This was based on the Supreme Court’s determination in Heckler v. Chaney that agency decisions not to proceed with enforcement are presumptively unreviewable.

Reconciling the Act’s provision of judicial review of actions “contrary to law” with the holding that judicial review is unavailable for exercises of prosecutorial discretion, the court concluded that a commission nonenforcement decision is reviewable only if the decision rests solely on legal interpretation.

Because the statement of reasons issued by the “controlling commissioners” explicitly relied on prosecutorial discretion, in addition to its legal interpretation finding that New Models was not a political committee, the court held that this decision was not reviewable because it was not solely based on legal interpretation. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

A+
a-

Elections

December 2, 2021
by Reece Nations
Stacey Abrams Announces Georgia Gubernatorial Campaign

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought... Read More

ATLANTA — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams announced on Wednesday she will again run for governor in 2022. Abrams previously sought to become Georgia’s first Black female governor in 2018 when she lost to current Gov. Brian Kemp. That election came down to the wire but Abrams... Read More

December 1, 2021
by Reece Nations
Paid Leave Advocates Say Bipartisan Path not Feasible

WASHINGTON — Advocates for the passage of paid family and medical leave into law are pushing the policy as a... Read More

WASHINGTON — Advocates for the passage of paid family and medical leave into law are pushing the policy as a solution to what could be a difficult 2022 midterm election for Democrats. Provisions for paid leave were included in the Build Back Better framework that passed... Read More

December 1, 2021
by Dan McCue
Councilman Andre Dickens Wins Atlanta Mayoral Race

ATLANTA — City Council member Andre Dickens prevailed in a runoff election Tuesday and will be Altanta’s next mayor. Dickens... Read More

ATLANTA — City Council member Andre Dickens prevailed in a runoff election Tuesday and will be Altanta’s next mayor. Dickens came in second to the city council's current president, Felicia Moore, in a primary election in November that included 12 other candidates in a nonpartisan contest.... Read More

November 29, 2021
by Reece Nations
Rural Candidates Reckon with Mainstream Messaging

SAN ANTONIO — Although much of the state’s social and political fabric has changed since the last Texas Democrat won... Read More

SAN ANTONIO — Although much of the state’s social and political fabric has changed since the last Texas Democrat won a statewide office in 1994, the party has repeatedly failed to capitalize through its messaging on Republicans’ miscues. Now, with new opportunities on the horizon, rural... Read More

November 23, 2021
by Dan McCue
FEC Approves Rental of Schiff Campaign Email List to Promote New Book

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is free to rent the email list compiled by his principal campaign committee, Schiff... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is free to rent the email list compiled by his principal campaign committee, Schiff for Congress, to promote his new memoir, “Midnight in Washington,” the Federal Election Commission said in an advisory opinion announced Wednesday. Random House, a division of... Read More

November 20, 2021
by Dan McCue
Early Voting Underway for Atlanta’s Nov. 30 Race for Mayor

ATLANTA — Early voting kicked off this week for Georgia’s 2021 runoff elections, the most watched being the race to... Read More

ATLANTA — Early voting kicked off this week for Georgia’s 2021 runoff elections, the most watched being the race to finally decide who will be Atlanta’s next mayor. City Council President Felicia Moore and Council Member Andre Dickens are facing off in the mayoral runoff after... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version