Court’s Emily decision ties up FEC

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The Federal Election Commission is trying to figure out the real-world ramifications of the DC Circuit’s decision allowing political action committees to spend at will on electioneering communications. It’s huddling with counsel to determine a response.


Chairman Steven T. Walther said, “The decision raises many complex and procedural issues. The Commission has already received a preliminary briefing from our General Counsel’s Office and we will receive additional briefings from OGC in the next few weeks. I anticipate that the six of us will engage in some extremely interesting discussions in the weeks to come.”

At issue is whether or not to appeal the decision, which runs counter to the intent of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, a piece of legislation that has suffered numerous flesh wounds at the hands of the courts.

A Supreme Court case concerning the right of corporations and unions has been heard and a decision is pending.

The FEC has 45 days to reach a decision. Walther said that once a course has been decided upon it will be made public.

RBR-TVBR observation: The FEC is the hands-down winner for most dysfunctional federal agency, since it is the only which does not seat a majority of commissioners based on which party controls the White House. If the vote on challenging this decision comes down to 3-3, as so many of them do, it will mean that the FEC cannot do anything. If we were gamblers, that’s the result we’d be putting our money on.

If there will be any action taken to counter the court decision, we expect it will have to come from Congress.