Washington, D.C. – Campaign Legal Center Action (CLCA) has filed a lawsuit (linked here) on behalf of Common Cause Georgia against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in federal court.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Monday, October 10th, comes on the heels of the FEC’s August dismissal of a complaint filed in March 2021 by CLCA, Common Cause Georgia and Aunna Dennis, Common Cause Georgia’s Executive Director. The complaint showed illegal coordination between the nonprofit corporation True the Vote and the Georgia Republican Party during the 2021 U.S. Senate runoff election in Georgia. Campaign finance law treats coordinated expenditures as in-kind contributions, prohibiting groups like True the Vote from making contributions to political party committees.
The FEC’s Office of General Counsel reviewed the complaint and recommended an investigation be opened into the alleged violations of campaign finance law, including the extent of illegal and undisclosed contributions resulting from the coordinated activities. However, on August 11th of this year, the FEC’s six Commissioners failed to take action after commissioners voted 3-2 on the complaint, short of the four votes needed to move forward.
“We were pleased that the FEC’s nonpartisan Office of General Counsel agreed that there was reason to believe violations occurred. The FEC’s three Republican commissioners rejected that recommendation, however, and failed to stand up for hundreds of thousands of Georgia voters by letting True the Vote off the hook for their illegal attempts to undermine people’s votes in 2021,” said Aunna Dennis, executive director of Common Cause Georgia. “We have another important election just weeks away and Georgia voters need reassurance that their rights to vote will always be respected and that our federal institutions won’t neglect their duties to enforce the law.”
“The FEC’s dismissal of this administrative complaint was based on critical errors of law and cannot be sustained. This is yet another example of the FEC refusing to enforce our nation’s campaign finance laws even in the face of significant evidence the law was violated,” said Megan McAllen, Director of Campaign Finance Litigation at CLC Action. “Failing to hold political actors accountable for their abuses of campaign finance law does immense damage to the anticorruption and transparency objectives that those laws were designed to serve. We urge the court to recognize that this dismissal was contrary to law and send the case back to the FEC so the agency can do its job.”
The FEC is the only federal agency whose sole responsibility is overseeing the integrity of our political campaigns. A pattern of failures by the FEC to hold wrongdoers accountable has resulted in an explosion of political spending and our politics are increasingly rigged in favor of special interests. Through this lawsuit, CLCA and Common Cause Georgia seek to compel the agency to enforce our existing campaign finance laws.