Federal Election Committee Tries To Shut Down 'Stop Hillary' PAC Because Donors Might Think Hillary Clinton Is Behind It

from the so-much-for-confidence-in-the-electorate... dept

The Federal Election Committee has admitted it couldn’t regulate itself out of a wet paper bag filled with “anonymous” donations, but it is still doing its damnedest to justify its existence. Unable to prevent the wholesale auction of political positions, it has turned its attention to a political action committee aimed only at preventing a certain candidate from being elected.

The FEC first sent a letter to Stop Hillary in April requesting it change its name, and followed up with a phone call threatening enforcement action this week, according to an attorney for the group. But the group is standing firm, arguing the freedom of speech protections afforded by the First Amendment to the Constitution shield it.

Specifically, the FEC cites this part of its regulations as being violated by the Stop Hillary PAC.

Your committee’s name includes the name of a candidate; however, your committee does not appear to be an authorized committee of that candidate. If your committee is authorized by a candidate, please amend your Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1) and choose the correct “Type of Committee.” Otherwise, you must amend your Statement of Organization to change the name of your political committee so that it does not include the candidate’s name and/or provide further clarification regarding the nature of your committee. (52 U.S.C. §30102(e)(4) (formerly 2 U.S.C. §432(e)(4)) and 11 CFR § 102.14)

Since the only candidate’s name being used is the candidate the PAC doesn’t want to win, it seems unlikely Hillary Clinton would be amenable to “authorizing” this committee. Supposedly, this lack of direct authorization might lead to confusion in voters, who might accidentally donate money to a PAC directly opposed to their views, due to the public’s apparent inability to parse the complicated phrase “Stop Hillary.” At least, that’s what the FEC’s arguing.

Dan Backer, legal counsel for Stop Hillary, argues that not only does this ruling impact the PAC’s free speech, but it’s also very, very stupid.

This Committee respectfully declines the Commission’s invitation to sacrifice its constitutionally protected right to free speech and free association solely for the benefit of what appears to be the Commission’s preferred candidate for Federal office.

Certainly, the Commission has offered no other rational basis for such absurdity. It is hard to fathom who exactly it is that is so lacking in basic concepts (perhaps not even knowing what the definition of “is”, is?) that to them the use of the verb ‘STOP’ immediately preceding the clear object to be stopped, ‘HILLARY’ demonstrates anything other than clear opposition to that object. Perhaps the Commission should reevaluate its continued lack of faith in the competency of Hillary Clinton’s supporters and afford them the benefit of the doubt.

If this doesn’t get the Federal Election Committee to reconsider its misguided regulation attempt, the “Stop Hillary” PAC can always hope the final decision is placed in the hands of the agency’s six commissioners — which should lead to immediate gridlock. And as the candidates head down the road towards Election Day 2016, the fiercely partisan commissioners will still be arguing over which conference room to use and what soft drinks should be supplied, leaving “Stop Hillary” free to throw money to whatever candidate seems most likely to keep her out of the nation’s highest office.



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Comments on “Federal Election Committee Tries To Shut Down 'Stop Hillary' PAC Because Donors Might Think Hillary Clinton Is Behind It”

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52 Comments
Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Considering the clear pattern we’ve got going on for the last several administrations, in which one President screws things up, the voters get fed up with his incompetence and vote in someone from the opposite party, who then proceeds to screw things up even worse and so on, it seems clear that we’re destined to vote in a Republican president next year.

I just wish there was a Republican candidate available who doesn’t look like an utter moron who will perpetuate the downward cycle even further, but looking over the list of hopefuls it doesn’t look likely. 🙁

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unless people vote for alternative parties, nothing will change. The minor parties do not have to win, just garner enough votes that they might win next time round, and the major parties will start to listen to the people more. Change from within the parties while they are alternating in power is almost impossible, as those at the top have a huge influence on who can climb the greasy pole.

The Infamous Joe (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I think most people already have feelings of disgust and disillusionment with the system.

Perhaps. However, there’s a different degree of disgust between the two. It’s one thing to flip a table and yell about how the system is unfair and votes don’t matter. It’s different entirely to realize that when you do try to vote for a different political party than the big two, you actually end up weakening the party you’re more closely aligned to, almost guaranteeing the party you’re least aligned with will win; or when you discover that there’s a potential for a President to win the election with only 22% of the popular vote.

That kind of disgust is worse, because it’s simple to come up with a better system, but I can’t imagine the type of political pressure that would be needed to get it implemented. It’s a more focused type of disgust, because the answer is clear and fair and can be easily implemented, but never will be– because if there’s one thing the two major parties can agree with, it’s that there should never be more than two major parties.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

The type of political pressure it would take is exactly the type of political pressure that could occur if a president wins with only 22% of the actual vote.

To borrow some terminology from Clark @ PopeHat, Voting for T]team Pepsi is like voting to take the slow bumpy road to hell. Voting for team Coke is like voting to take the smooth recently paved fast road to hell. Either way, you end up in hell. So i’ve come up with this radical idea of voting for someone that is at least going in a different direction. I’m willing to sacrifice a little immediate comfort for a glimmer of hope that something might change. If enough people join me, then the established politicians will sit up and take notice. Perhaps something will change.

[ Note: if there is no one on your local ballot that voting for isn’t like voting to take a path to hell, I recommend Homer Simpson or Mickey Mouse.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

That kind of disgust is worse, because it’s simple to come up with a better system,

The only better system that I have seen is the single transferable vote. Proportion representation simply locks in the power of the parties, because with seats allocated by party, the politicians are beholden to the party bosses. That said, keeping on voting for the major parties does not lead to change, and the only way other parties can have an effect is if people start voting for them. Leading a revolution may be painful for a voting cycle or two, but that is better than persisting the existing systems. Also making it possible for people to consider new parties is about the only way that the new generations have of changing the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Political parties should be treated as lobbyist organizations. It is the politician’s choice whether or not to join a political party.

Party HQ should not be directing when states have primary elections. The states already run a primary for the National HQ at no charge (to the parties.)

The best solution is to modify the election records. Do you want to vote: Yes or No. Party affiliation should not be recorded, and existing records of party affiliation should be purged.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Not necessarily. Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 elections, and Republicans have been darned determined to alienate the Hispanic vote.

Plus, Republicans won 3 presidential elections in a row in 1988, despite democrats starting out with a huge lead at the beginning of that cycle. So it can be done, and polls now aren’t that meaningful 18 months out.

David says:

It's worth a try

Since the only candidate’s name being used is the candidate the PAC doesn’t want to win, it seems unlikely Hillary Clinton would be amenable to “authorizing” this committee.

Why wouldn’t she? It’s free advertising for her when she gives her “ok”.

These days, there is no such thing as bad publicity. If Aristides had bothered widely publicizing his ballot story in time, he might not have been ostracized after all.

If you believe in democracy, you’ll believe in not stifling your opposition except by arguments. And so much the better when you can make a show from it. Nothing like taking the winds out of their sail in that manner.

Which might be why they did not bother to ask. And they really should not have to ask. But I don’t see that Hillary would have had a lot to lose from assenting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Doom is coming

Hillary is going to win because the republicans are going to spend all their time tripping over each other trying to sound more crazy than the other guy so that they can win the nomination. Virtually every statement made during the Republican primary will turn directly into an add for Hillary.

Once Hillary is in office, she is going to double down on the surveillance state because she was embarrassed by Chelsea Manning’s revelations via wikileaks. Now she will want revenge on all those internet hippies that caused her problems in the first place.

I’ve also recently been reminded that the clipper chip fiasco occurred during Bill’s reign. So we can expect clipper chip mark 2 as well.

I urge everyone who is eligible to register and vote. On the off chance you actually support one of the major candidates, go ahead and vote for them. For everyone else please vote for a third party candidate, or for Mickey Mouse. If Hillary is declared president with less votes that Mickey, it will do a lot to push for some change.

[ Other viable candidates include, but are not limited to Homer Simpson, Edward Snowden, Waka Flocka Flame. I’d also support an effort to draft Tina Fey or Whoopi Goldberg.]

Anonymous Coward says:

Go Ahead, Make My Day

The law cited in the FEC letter is straightforward:
“In the case of any political committee which is not an authorized committee, such political committee shall not include the name of any candidate in its name.” 52 U.S.C. § 30102. To determine whether that violates the First Amendment, an expensive lawsuit would be required.

Why not just choose from the many available legal options?
1) The Stop-Bill’s-Wife Committee
2) The Stop-the-Hillarity Committee
3) The Not-A-Hill-Worth-Dying-On-Or-Voting-For Committee
4) The What-Difference-At-This-Point-Does-It-Make Committee

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

OMG! They Only Understand Newspeak

DC officials are so immersed in their NewSpeak language courses from Orwell U, class of ’84, that they can no longer understand English.

Patriot Act? A-OK.
Free Trade? A-OK.
USA Freedom Act? A-OK.
“Representatives” in the house? Sure.
Money is speech? Of course it is!
Corporations are people? Natch!
“Hands Off the Internet” means “Hands On the Internet”? Duh!

Stop Hillary? Nope, that may be confused with being pro-Hillary.

Anonymous Coward says:

“due to the public’s apparent inability to parse the complicated phrase “Stop Hillary.” At least, that’s what the FEC’s arguing. “

No wonder why we keep getting the same idiots elected over and over. The public is so illiterate they couldn’t even understand the meaning of the phrase “stop Hilary”.

If the public is really this retarded then what’s the point of even having elections in the first place? We need to solve the problem of basic illiteracy and common sense first and then we can deal with getting the right person elected.

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