On June 22, 2012, DB Capitol Strategies joined the Bopp Firm to sue the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of conservative activist and donor Shaun McCutcheon. A special three-judge panel created specifically for challenges to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (the BCRA) heard the case. This litigation derived from the FEC’s decision to bar Mr. McCutcheon from contributing past the aggregate biennial limit during the period 2011-2012 as requested in Advisory Opinion Request (AOR) 2012-14. The FEC, in Advisory Opinion 2012-14, refused to reconsider the unconstitutionality of the biennial limit, which DB Capitol Strategies argued was incompatible with Mr. McCutcheon’s First Amendment right of free speech and association, by forcing him to comply with a secondary limit that did not serve a legitimate government interest.
After a hearing on the merits, and a Motion to dismiss by the FEC, the three-judge panel dismissed the lawsuit on September 28, 2012. Afterwards DB Capitol Strategies and the Bopp Firm timely appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which noted probable jurisdiction and will hear oral arguments on the case in October 2013.
On April 23, 2013, Stop This Insanity, Inc. Employee Leadership Fund (ELF), as represented by DB Capitol Strategies, appealed a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruling, which denied a preliminary injunction and dismissed the suit on the merits. DB Capitol Strategies is currently appealing the District Court’s ruling at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. ELF is challenging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) application of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the FECA) to bar ELF from exercising its right to operate a separate bank account for unregulated independent expenditures (IEs).
On October 17, 2012, DB Capitol Strategies, on behalf of Tea Party Leadership Fund (TPLF), sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. TPLF challenged the FEC’s unconstitutional imposition of a six-month waiting period for this group to qualify as a multicandidate political action committee (PAC). During this period the statute acted as an unconstitutional prior restraint, which critically impacted TPLF’s First Amendment rights.
On December 7, 2011, DB Capitol Strategies, on behalf of Combat Veterans for Congress PAC (CVFC PAC), sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge administrative fines that the FEC improperly applied to the PAC. CVFC PAC’s challenge is necessitated by the FEC’s refusal to follow black letter law in this matter, including the relevant statute and its own regulations. Instead the FEC has chosen not to hold PAC treasurers responsible in their personal capacity when acting knowingly, willfully, and recklessly in failing to fulfill their statutory duty to timely file reports. Allowing treasurers to escape any liability for such blatant and documented misfeasance invites corruption, which endangers the integrity of the entire campaign finance regulatory regime. Moreover, the case unearthed an astonishing record of FEC violations of the Administrative Procedures Act in determining and voting to approve administrative fines.
On August 19, 2011, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) conceded defeat and entered into a stipulated judgment in Carey v FEC that grants the Plaintiffs, Rear Adm. James J Carey [Ret], Kelly S. Eustis, and the National Defense PAC (NDPAC), the relief they sought. In this Consent Judgment, the FEC agreed it would not enforce 2 U.S.C. §§441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3) against NDPAC with regard to contributions for independent expenditures (IEs). This victory for free speech has significant practical ramifications.