UPDATE: Libertarian National Committee v. FEC

There has been a lot of activity recently in Libertarian National Committee (LNC) v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), CCP’s challenge to the FEC’s overbroad application of contribution limits to the decease.  On March 18th, Judge Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia certified the following question to the Court of Appeals:

“Does imposing annual contribution limits against the bequest of Raymond Groves Burrington violate the First Amendment rights of the Libertarian National Committee?”

The standard justification for contribution limits is that they prevent some risk of corruption or “the appearance of corruption.”  LNC makes the simple and logical contention that Mr. Burrington’s bequest does not present the same alleged risk of corruption because, simply put, Mr. Burrington is deceased.  Without any clear threat of corruption, there is not a plausible connection between the “harm” of a bequest and the law.

On April 15th, the FEC filed a baseless motion requesting that the District Court alter or amend its decision because it was a “clear error.”  CCP filed its response on April 29th, noting that such a motion is inappropriate unless “there is an intervening change of controlling law, the availability of new evidence, or the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.”  None of those factors are in play.  The FEC simply wishes to have another bite at the apple, to re-argue the same case that it has been fighting for nearly two years.

CCP is currently awaiting the District Court’s decision on the FEC’s insulting jab at the court’s competence.  CCP recently submitted comments to the FEC on ways for the Commission to improve its enforcement process, including changes to the Commission’s culture.  While the LNC case doesn’t arise out of an enforcement action, the FEC’s conduct in this case has reinforced the need for the Commission to re-examine its culture and conduct.