John Doe 1 & 2 seek equitable relief to enjoin the FEC, a federal agency, from releasing Plaintiffs’ identities in connection with FEC Matter Under Review (“MUR”) 6920. Plaintiff’s argue that the release of Plaintiffs’ identities is contrary to law under the Federal Election Campaign Act (“FECA” or “Act”) and Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and published FEC policy because, among other reasons, it is an invasion of privacy, could be read to implicate such people and entities in illegal conduct even though the Commission has made no such finding, and has the effect of chilling speech.
CREW and Anne Weismann have moved to intervene as defendants pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 24(a)(2). We assert that if plaintiffs’ claim proves successful, CREW will be deprived of three specific statutory rights:
- CREW will be deprived of its right to know who gave $1.71 million to Now or Never PAC — the very information that CREW’s administrative complaint sought to obtain and that is now being withheld.
- The plaintiffs’ claim would significantly impede CREW’s exercise of its statutory right to challenge the FEC’s baffling decision to close CREW’s complaint without even investigating — much less penalizing — those coconspirators.
- Third, intervention is consistent with the practice of courts in this district in “reverse FOIA” cases, which plaintiffs here claim to be bringing.
On January 31st 2018, the Court denied CREW’s motion to intervene. On February 12, 2018 CREW filed an Amicus brief with the District Court. On March 23rd 2018, the Court rejected the Does’ request to enjoin the FEC from identifying them in public files, accepting CREW’s arguments that the Does had no First Amendment right to make anonymous contributions and that they were not exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. On June 21, 2018 CREW filed an Amicus brief with the Circuit Court.