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For Immediate Release
May 31, 2006

 

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Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
George Smaragdis

FEC ACCEPTS REMAND IN SHAYS V. FEC AND BUSH-CHENEY '04 V. FEC

Washington – The Federal Election Commission has voted not to appeal a recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and to provide further explanation of the Commission’s 2004 rulemaking concerning political committee status.

In 2004, the Commission promulgated new rules imposing stricter requirements on the use of “hard money” by groups that conduct both federal and non-federal political activities.  The new rules also expanded the definition of “contribution,” and consequently the class of political groups required to register as “political committees” under the Federal Election Campaign Act.  At the same time, the Commission chose not to amend its definition of political committee specifically to include all groups organized under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Commission published a lengthy explanation in the Federal Register of why it adopted the new rules and restrictions.  Though the Commission held hearings and considered numerous legal and policy arguments regarding expansion of the political committee definition, the Commission devoted only one paragraph to specifically addressing its decision not to amend this definition.

The cases, Shays v. FEC and Bush-Cheney ’04 v. FEC, challenged the Commission’s decision not to change the political committee definition. The Court denied the plaintiffs’ request to order the Commission to issue new regulations.  Instead, the Court remanded the case to the Commission and provided the Commission with the option of further articulating reasons for its decisions.  Pursuant to the Court’s order, the Commission intends to prepare a more thorough explanation of the rulemaking decisions at issue.

Documents related to this case can be found on the Commission’s Web Site at http://www.fec.gov/law/litigation_CCA_Alpha.shtml#shays_02.

 

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