Election Law @ Moritz

Election Law Litigation

Shays v. Federal Elections Commission; Bush-Cheney '04 v. FEC

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(page last updated October 30, 2007 at 1:45 PM)

Case Information

All Courts: United States District Court, District of Columbia (Case 04-1597; 04-1612)
Topic(s): Campaign Finance
State: Washington, D.C.
Date Filed: September 14, 2004
Date Ended: March 29, 2006


In this consolidated action Plaintiffs, House of Representative sponsors of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act ("BCRA") and the federally registered political committee representing President Bush and Vice-President Cheney in their successful re-election effort, have brought suit against the Federal Elections Commission ("FEC") alleging that the FEC failed to promulgate legally sufficient rules regarding the definition of the term "political committee."

The BCRA requires any group with a "major purpose" to influence federal elections and that either raises $1,000.00 in "contributions" or spends $1,000 in "expenditures," to register with the FEC as a "political committee" and comply with the contribution limits, source prohibitions and reporting requirements. "Section 527 groups" organized under §527 of the Internal Revenue Code but not typically registered with the FEC as "political committees," however, are able to circumvent these spending limits and regulations as they fall outside the FEC's current definition and regulation of "political committees."

Although the FEC has publicly acknowledged the importance of amending the rules to incorporate these new groups, it has failed to do so. Accordingly, Plaintiffs seek declaratory judgment requiring the FEC to promulgate rules requiring Section 527 groups to register as "political committees."


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