On December 22, 2015, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed its motion for summary judgment against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in CREW’s suit against the FEC. The suit challenges the FEC’s dismissal of CREW’s complaints against the American Action Network (AAN) and Americans for Job Security (AJS) for the groups’ failure to register as political committees with the FEC. The motion explains in detail why the dismissals that stemmed from three FEC commissioners’ refusal to treat the groups’ “electioneering communications”—ads run shortly before an election that specifically name a candidate and are aired to tens of thousands of voters in that election—as counting toward their political committee classification was contrary to law and should be reversed by the court. The motion argues that, contrary to the three commissioners’ explanation for dismissing CREW’s complaints, the First Amendment allows ample room for disclosure from political groups like AAN and AJS and that their electioneering communications are highly relevant to determining whether they are political committees under federal campaign finance law. The motion further argues that the relevant activity to consider in determining whether a group’s “major purpose” is to nominate or elect federal candidates—a criterion for political committee classification under federal law—is the group’s activity in the past year, not activity that may be decades old; and argues that a group’s “major purpose” may be supported by less than 50% of its total spending.
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