CREW recently asked the full D.C. Circuit to reconsider a gravely erroneous set of decisions that effectively shut the door on campaign finance enforcement. CREW filed amicus briefs in support of Campaign Legal Center’s and End Citizen United PAC’s petitions in two cases that applied badly reasoned case law (CHGO and New Models) to terminate judicial review of the FEC’s failures to enforce and cut off any chance for private relief. These rulings have granted a partisan non-majority of the FEC the “superpower” to kill any FEC enforcement matter free of any accountability, rendering them a “law unto themselves,” in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Congress initially structured the FEC to avoid partisan control over the agency, requiring all actions of the FEC to occur on a bipartisan basis. To prevent partisan gridlocking of the commission and to combat dark money when the FEC proved unable or unwilling to do its duty, Congress also incorporated measures such as private litigation and judicial review. Under the decisions issued in CHGO and New Models, a partisan bloc of the FEC has been endowed with the ability to bypass these measures in an effort to ignore this court’s orders, grant free passes to partisan allies, and abdicate enforcement.

As CREW’s briefs discuss, the decisions in CHGO and New Models depart from the standards of administrative law and conflict with the mandates of the Constitution by granting a single party-aligned bloc of FEC commissioners the ability to gridlock the agency, circumvent accountability and slam the courthouse door shut on Americans’ attempts to obtain disclosure of spending in elections. CREW urges the court to restore the law as Congress enacted and as recognized in the numerous binding precedents of the D.C. Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court by reconsidering the CHGO and New Models decisions when ruling in these two cases.

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