Carey v. FEC Other Links

In the News: Washington Times: Undercover journalist at CPAC misrepresents hybrid PACs

DB Capitol Strategies’ Christina Sirois in the Washington Times: WASHINGTON, March 20, 2013 — “Thank you for identifying yourself as media,” I suddenly found myself saying as media personnel flooded the DB Capitol Strategies CPAC booth on the final days of the conservative conference. I certainly learned my lesson after an undercover journalist published his snarky […]

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, In the News, In the News Our Cases, Litigation Blog/Press Releases

In the News: Campaigns & Elections: Welcome to the PAC jungle

Welcome to the PAC jungle By Allen Dickerson A federal court decision in the District of Columbia recently spawned another political entity to add to the growing field of political action committees, 527s and Super PACs. These new dual-purpose PACs are the latest creatures to enter the crowded, mutating environment created by the recent spate […]

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, In the News, In the News Our Cases, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, Published Articles

Note To FEC: Don’t Be Sore Losers

Dear FEC: losing court cases is not an invitation to regulation.

As previously mentioned in this space before, CCP – co-counseled with Dan Backer, Ben Barr, and Steve Hoersting – recently won a case in federal court. That case, Carey v. FEC, allowed our client, the National Defense PAC (NDPAC), to accept both hard- and soft- money contributions, so long as it keeps those funds in separate accounts.

But there has been an open question since the ruling: would the FEC interpret that settlement as applying only to NDPAC, or would it universally cease enforcement of regulations it has conceded are unconsitutitional?

We received an answer yesterday. The FEC has announced that all PACs may benefit from the ruling in Carey. But the Commission’s press release suggests more work ahead.


Filed Under: Blog, Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases

Success in National Defense PAC Case

Sarah Lee, Communications Director

The Center for Competitive Politics


ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) client, The National Defense PAC (NDPAC), was recently awarded a motion to stay discovery in its challenge to prevent the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from subjecting it to a burdensome investigation.

Joining CCP as co-counsel in this effort were Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies, Benjamin Barr, and Stephen Hoersting.

The decision prevents the FEC from examining NDPAC’s documents, deposing its executives, or otherwise engaging in an unwarranted investigation of its lawful activities. Further, NDPAC will be saved the substantial costs – in time, attorneys’ fees, and disruption – that such an investigation inevitably entails.

CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson noted that the decision has a positive effect on the speech rights on grassroots organizations involved in political fundraising. “The FEC’s regulation disproportionately affects small, grassroots organizations that cannot afford to be buried in administrative paperwork or lawyers’ fees,” he said. “This decision helps ensure that when Americans must vindicate their First Amendment rights in court, they can do so without first being subjected to a lengthy and ultimately irrelevant government audit.”


Filed Under: Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, Press Releases

First Amendment Wins in Carey v FEC

ALEXANDRIA, VA – First Amendment rights received a significant boost yesterday when a judge issued a preliminary injunction in Carey v FEC freeing up Political Action Committees (PACs) that make contributions to candidates to also accept unlimited contributions to make independent expenditures and pay for operating costs.

“I applaud this Court’s strong rebuke of the FEC’s rough-shod suppression of the free speech rights of grassroots activists, organizers, and everyday Americans,” said Dan Backer of DB Capitol Strategies following the ruling. “Political speech is a fundamental right, not some privilege accorded at the whim & mercy of the FEC, and this ruling ensures that citizens enjoy the same political speech capabilities as well-funded corporate & union interests.”

Attorneys Stephen M. Hoersting, Benjamin T. Barr and Dan Backer, working with the Center for Competitive Politics, represented Rear Admiral (Ret.) James J. Carey and the National Defense PAC in the case.  The ruling means that PACs without the deep pockets of many unions and corporations can raise funds for independent expenditures without limits and without having to create a second, separate organization.

“This is a big win for the First Amendment, and a blow to the FEC’s apparent intent to ignore precedents like Citizens United,, and Emily’s List in an effort to stifle as much political speech as possible,” said Sean Parnell, President of the Center for Competitive Politics. “It’s time for our current campaign finance regulatory structure to be largely undone as it is overly complex, stifles too much political speech, and leaves too many Americans unsure of whether they can legally speak or not.”

A motion for summary judgment is in the process of being filed.

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, Press Releases

CCP joins National Defense PAC challenge

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) announced today that it joined the legal team representing National Defense PAC in its challenge to unconstitutional Federal Election Commission regulations.

The federal suit, Carey et al v. FEC, asks the FEC to acknowledge what the courts have already decided: that any political action committee may make contributions to federal candidates using limited funds while also engaging in independent expenditures using segregated funds raised for that purpose. The FEC has demanded that grassroots organizations jump through burdensome regulatory hoops just to speak out about candidates running for office.

National Defense PAC, created by retired Rear Admiral James J. Carey, submitted a request to the FEC for an advisory opinion on the matter in August 2010. Previous court rulings, most notably in v. FEC ( was represented jointly by CCP and the Institute for Justice) and EMILY’s List v. FEC, uphold the principle that organizations may engage in both types of political speech and association so long as funds are properly segregated.

The FEC deadlocked on the issue, with three commissioners voting in support of National Defense PAC’s argument. In response to National Defense PAC’s suit, the FEC has argued against injunctive relief, claiming that the plaintiff’s First Amendment rights were not immediately, irreparably harmed based on the PAC’s ability to clone itself and create another organization to speak on its behalf. 

“The FEC response is typical of its disregard for those seeking clarity in their free speech rights,” said CCP Vice President of Policy Allison Hayward. “What they are really saying is, because of their belief that government alone is in the business of regulating when, where, and how people participate in politics, they don’t want to argue this case on the merits. When those are the facts, who can blame them?”

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC Other Links, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, Press Releases

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