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National Republican Senatorial Committee et al v. FEC et al (22-639) challenges limits on coordinated party expenditures – FEC.gov

On November 4, 2022, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), James David Vance, and Steven Joseph Chabot (collectively plaintiffs), filed suit against the Commission in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio alleging that the Federal Election Campaign Act’s (the Act) limits on coordinated party expenditures, including those under 52 U.S.C. § 30116(d), violate the First Amendment.

Background

Under the Act, a national party committee and state party committee may make expenditures in connection with the general election campaigns of federal candidates that are coordinated with those candidates. These coordinated party expenditures do not count against the contribution limits but are subject to a separate set of limits. These limits are based on the office sought and the relevant voting-age population, and are adjusted annually for inflation.

Complaint

Plaintiffs allege that the Act abridges the political speech of party committees by strictly limiting how much of their own money they can spend to influence federal elections in coordination with their candidates. According to the plaintiffs, the government lacks a cognizable interest in restricting party coordinated expenditures and more appropriately tailored alternatives to coordinated party expenditure limits exist to prevent “quid pro quo” corruption or its appearance.

Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment that any limits on political party coordinated expenditures are unconstitutional, including as applied to “party coordinated communications” as defined in FEC regulations, and are therefore unenforceable. Plaintiffs also ask the court to enjoin the Commission from enforcing those provisions against plaintiffs and their intended activities.

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