September 19, 2016
A recent Bloomberg BNA article quoted Garvey Schubert Barer attorney Dan Petalas concerning the significance of a ruling by Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which reversed the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for failing to require two nonprofit groups to register as political committees with the FEC and file regular reports revealing their donors and other activities. As a former FEC enforcement chief and acting general counsel, Petalas previously had recommended proceeding with enforcement actions against American Action Network (AAN), Americans for Job Security (AJS) and other non-disclosing groups.
While the ruling is likely to be appealed and may ultimately be “decided by a much higher court,” Petalas explained that it nonetheless “could have a significant impact on groups that have continued to sponsor political ads without disclosing their donors.” While the groups have been shielded from enforcement actions due to deadlocks between Democrat and Republican commissioners, he said that “such assurances will now be called into question.”
Petalas further noted that “Cooper ruled that courts are not required to defer to the FEC’s judgement in an enforcement case that calls on commissioners to interpret previous court precedents.”
To read the full article, please visit Bloomberg BNA's website.