Deseret News: Judge dismisses FEC complaint against ex-Utah A.G. John Swallow (In the News)

Deseret News: Judge dismisses FEC complaint against ex-Utah A.G. John Swallow

By Dennis Romboy

Attorney Allen Dickerson contended the law is silent on secondary liability – the practice of holding one party legally responsible for helping another – for the type of campaign finance violation Swallow allegedly committed.

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson agreed…

It is illegal under federal law for a person to donate funds to a federal candidate through another person or allow their name be used to contribute to a candidate. It also is against the law for a candidate to accept a contribution made in the name of another person.

The law applies to only three types of people, and Swallow was not one them, Dickerson argued.

“The FEC’s authority exists no further than the boundaries of the law it was created to enforce,” Benson wrote in a 10-page decision…

Benson struck the rule from the code of federal regulations and barred the FEC from enforcing it.

Dickerson said Benson rightly rejected the FEC’s “brazen” attempt to supplant federal law.

“Unelected commissioners cannot act outside of the law to punish conduct they deem inappropriate,” he said, adding the ruling secures the rights of all Americans to discuss and participate in campaign fundraising.

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.