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Van Hollen Complaint for Filing

Van Hollen Complaint for Filing

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Published by: HouseBudgetDems on Apr 21, 2011
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04/21/2011

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UNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURTFORTHEDISTRICTOFCOLUMBIA
Plaintiff,CivilActionNo.CHRISVANHOLLEN,v.UNITEDSTATESFEDERALELECTIONCOMMISSION,Defendant.
COMPLAINT
PlaintiffChrisVanHollenforhisComplaint,statesasfollows:1.ThisactionisachallengeundertheAdministrativeProcedureAct(5U.S.C.§§551-706)toaregulationpromulgatedbytheUnitedStatesFederalElectionCommission("FEC").Thechallengedregulation,11C.F.R.§104.20(c)(9),isarbitrary,capricious,andcontrarytolawbecauseitisinconsistentwithaprovisionoftheBipartisanCampaignReformAct("BCRA")-BCRA§201,codifiedat2U.S.C.§434(f)-thattheregulationpurportstoimplement.Asaconsequence,theregulationhasfrustratedtheintentofCongressbycreatingamajorloopholeintheBCRA'sdisclosureregimebyallowingcorporations,includingnon-profitcorporations,andlabororganizationstokeepsecretthesourcesofdonationstheyreceiveandusetomake"electioneeringcommunications."2.InakeyprovisionoftheBCRA,Congressrequireddisclosureofdisbursementsmadefor"electioneeringcommunications,"andprovidedtwooptionsfordisclosureofthedonorstopersonsmakingsuchdisbursements.Ifthedisbursementispaidoutofasegregated
 
bankaccountconsistingoffundscontributedbyindividuals,onlydonorsof$1,000ormoretosuchaccountmustbedisclosed.2U.S.C.§434(f)(2)(E).Ifthedisbursementisnotpaidoutofsuchasegregatedbankaccount,"thenamesandaddressesof
all
contributorswhocontributedanaggregateamountof$1,000ormore"totheentitypayingforthe"electioneeringcommunication"mustbedisclosed.2U.S.C.§434(f)(2)(F)(emphasisadded).3.TheFEC'sregulationrelatingtoreporting"electioneeringcommunications"purportstoprovideadifferentalternativefordisclosureofcontributors,butonethatisnotauthorizedbylaw.Theregulationrequiresdisclosureofdonationsof$1,000ormoretocorporations,includingnon-profitcorporations,ortolabororganizationsonlywhenthedonation"wasmadeforthepurposeoffurtheringelectioneeringcommunications"bythecorporationorlabororganization.11C.F.R.§104.20(c)(9).Thus,ratherthanrequiredisclosureofalldonorsof$1,000ormoretoasegregatedbankaccountofthecorporationorlabororganizationfromwhichthedisbursementsweremade,ordisclosureof
"all
contributors"of$1,000ormoretothecorporationorlabororganizationmakingthedisbursements,2U.S.C.§434(f)(2)(F)(emphasisadded),theregulationrequirescorporations,includingnon-profitcorporations,todiscloseonly
some
contributorsof$I,OOOormore,
i.e.,
donorswhohavemanifestedaparticularstateofmindor"purpose."4.Congressdidnotincludea"stateofmind"or"purpose"elementtiedto"furthering"electioneeringcommunicationsintherelevantBCRAprovision,2U.S.C.§434(f)(2)(F).TheFEC,byaddingthisrequirementin11C.F.R.§104.20(c)(9),contravenedtheplainlanguageofthestatutewhichrequiresdisclosureof"allcontributors"of$1,000ormoretothecorporationorlabororganizationwhenelectioneeringcommunicationsarenotpaidfroma
-2-
 
segregatedbankaccount.TheFEClackedstatutoryauthoritytoaddthe"purpose"elementtoCongress'sstatutorydisclosureregimeforthosewhofundcorporateorunion"electioneeringcommunications,"andtheFEC'sregulationaddingthe"purpose"elementis,accordingly,arbitrary,capricious,andcontrarytolaw.Further,theFEC'sstatedrationaleforengraftinga"purpose"requirementisitselfirrational,arbitrary,andcapricious,renderingitcontrarytolaw.5.Notonlyis
11
C.F.R.§104.20(c)(9)inconsistentwiththeplainlanguageofthestatute,itisalsomanifestlycontrarytoCongressionalintentandhascreatedtheopportunityforgrossabuse.Congresssoughttorequiremore,notless,disclosureofthosewhosedonationsfund"electioneeringcommunications."TheFEC'sunlawfulregulationproducesaresultthatfrustratesCongress'sobjective.6.Realworldexperienceconfirmsthisconclusion.RelyingontheFEC'sfaultyregulations,manynon-profitcorporationswhichspentmillionsofdollarson"electioneeringcommunications"inthe2010campaigndidnotdisclosethenamesofcontributorswhosedonationstheyusedtomake"electioneeringcommunications,"contrarytothestatuteandtheintentofCongress.Asaresult,corporations,includingnon-profits,usingblandandunrevealingnames,expendedmillionsofdollarson"electioneeringcommunications"tosupportorattackfederalcandidatesincircumstanceswherethesource(s)ofthemoneyspentisunknowntotheelectorateandtothecandidatesvyingforfederaloffice.
JURISDICTIONANDVENUE
7.ThisactionarisesundertheFederalElectionCampaignActof1971("FECA"),Pub.
L.
No.92-225,2U.S.C.§§431
etseq.,
asamendedbytheBipartisanCampaignReform-3-

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