Breaking: Republican FEC Commissioners Block Investigation into NRA Russian Ties in 2016 Election

FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub (whose full statement is here): BREAKING: @FEC's Republicans block all investigation of & enforcement against Russians Torshin & Butina re the NRA & the 2016 presidential election. Result: FEC does nothing to find out the truth … Continue reading

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“Republican FEC commissioners let Clinton campaign off the hook for super PAC coordination”

Open Secrets: Deadlocked on a party-line vote, the Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint that Hillary Clinton’s campaign illegally coordinated with a super PAC during the 2016 presidential election cycle.Continuing a recent trend with the embattled regulatory agency that … Continue reading

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“F.E.C. Allows Security Company to Help 2020 Candidates Defend Campaigns”

NYT: The Federal Election Commission said on Thursday that a Silicon Valley security company could immediately start helping 2020 presidential candidates defend their campaigns from the kinds of malicious email attacks that Russian hackers exploited in the 2016 election.The F.E.C. … Continue reading

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“Free Speech For People Sues Federal Election Commission for Failing to Investigate Trump and Trump Campaign’s Role in McDougal Hush Money Payoff”

Release: Free Speech For People has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission for failing to investigate a $150,000 “hush money” payment made in 2016 to Karen McDougal, one of President Trump’s former mistresses, under federal campaign finance law. The investigation … Continue reading

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In Important Step and In Rare Bipartisan Fashion, Federal Election Commission Unanimously Approves Measure to Provide Free or Reduced-Cost Cybersecurity Protection for American Campaigns [Subject to Disclosure of, and Limits on Sources of Funding for Effort (That Part’s Not Unanimous)]

This is very good news. You can find the advisory opinion here. It is unanimous, except the Republican commissioners would not have imposed the disclosure requirements or source limitations. From Chair Weintraub’s letter: Under the unusual and exigent circumstances presented … Continue reading

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“FEC lawyers find evidence of illegal campaign contributions by Boston’s Thornton law firm, but commissioners dismiss complaint anyway”

Boston Globe: Lawyers at the Federal Election Commission found that Boston’s Thornton Law firm likely used a phony program to repay partners for political donations, but the case was dismissed after commissioners deadlocked on whether to pursue it.FEC staff lawyers … Continue reading

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Breaking: DC Circuit Denies En Banc Consideration in Crew v. FEC Case, Essentially Giving Republican Commissioners Unfettered Ability to Block All Campaign Finance Enforcement Matters with No Judicial Review of the Decision

Huge decision not to take the case en banc today. Under the ruling, if the FEC deadlocks (typically along party lines) on an enforcement matter and those blocking enforcement claim “prosecutorial discretion,” there can be no meaningful judicial review of … Continue reading

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“Federal Election Commission Lays Bare Internal Conflicts and Challenges in Letters to Congress”

CPI: The Federal Election Commission’s four leaders are offering lawmakers clashing perspectives on the agency’s very purpose.The FEC’s greatest challenge to fulfilling its mission is a misperception that “adherence to the rule of law and sensitivity to Americans’ First Amendment … Continue reading

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“A Lawsuit About Trump and the NRA Could Upend How the Government Polices Campaign Finance”

Mother Jones: A gun safety group, Giffords, and a campaign finance watchdog, the Campaign Legal Center, are suing the Federal Election Commission for failing to act on multiple complaints alleging that the National Rifle Association unlawfully coordinated with Donald Trump and other … Continue reading

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“Mueller Report Opens Door for Civil Enforcement by FEC”

Release: Today, Common Cause, the Campaign Legal Center, and Democracy 21 filed a supplementto a complaint filed in July 2017 against President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign committee for soliciting contributions from foreign nationals in the form of opposition research offered by Russians. … Continue reading

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“New Findings: FEC Stonewalling Candidates, Parties, Seeking Guidance About Super PACs, Other Substantive Issues”

Release: New data and analysis from the Brennan Center show that the deadlocked Federal Election Commission has failed to provide guidance to candidates, parties, and others seeking to understand their legal obligations; update regulations to reflect changes in the law; … Continue reading

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“The Cybersecurity 202: Cybersecurity proposal pits cyber pros against campaign finance hawks”

WaPo: The Federal Election Commission could decide today whether nonpartisan groups can offer political campaigns free cybersecurity services, an issue that has made bedfellows of Republicans and Democrats but divided cyber pros and campaign finance hawks.The proposal’s authors, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 … Continue reading

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“Federal officials struggle to drag political ad rules into the internet age”

CPI: The American social media platforms Russian entities used to influence the 2016 presidential election are essentially attempting to regulate themselves, fearing a repeat during the 2018 midterms. Meanwhile, the federal government agency tasked with protecting U.S. elections from foreign meddling struggled on Wednesday … Continue reading

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Breaking: FEC Refuses to Act on Complaint Donald Trump Used Campaign Resources for Personal Use

Statement from dissenting FEC Commissioner Weintraub: Trump hotels, Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump golf courses, Trump wine. The Complaint in this matter cites to an unprecedented catalog of candidate-branded products and properties used along the 2016 campaign trail. According to … Continue reading

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D.C. Circuit, in 2-1 Votes, Makes It Much Harder to Challenge Decisions by Republican FEC Commissioners Not to Enforce Federal Campaign Finance Laws

This opinion by Senior Judge Randolph, joined by Judge Kavanaugh is most unfortunate. As Judge Pillard suggests in her dissent, the opinion insulates FEC Commissioners’  refusal to enforce certain campaign finance laws from judicial review under the guise of “prosecutorial … Continue reading

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“Hidden Super-PAC Contributors Win Round as Court Upholds Secrecy”

Bloomberg BNA: A federal court upheld the Federal Election Commission’s dismissal of disclosure charges involving two wealthy contributors who allegedly funneled $14 million to super-political action committees through obscure companies. The FEC’s three Republican commissioners, who voted to dismiss the charges, exercised … Continue reading

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