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.



Filed Under: fec, federal election committee, hillary clinton, pac, stop hillary


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  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:24am

    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. :(

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:29am

      Re:

      So long as you act as if your only choice is from one of the major parties, nothing will change.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:34am

        Re: Re:

        Unfortunately, you've got the cart before the horse. Basic game theory demonstrates exactly the opposite: so long as nothing fundamentally changes in the way our elections work, the only choice is from one of two major parties.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:43am

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I thought everyone on the Internet has watched CPGrey's Problem's with First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) videos.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:18am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              For those that haven't, here it is:

              https://youtu.be/s7tWHJfhiyo

              Warning, watching that video is likely to lead to feelings of disgust and disillusionment with the system.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:51am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

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

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:32pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.]

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 7:06pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Throwing away votes is always a stupid move. I try to make as few of those as possible.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Different AC, 13 Jun 2015 @ 1:25am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        I'd rather die in a ditch trying to escape than arrive in hell driving a slightly nicer car.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • identicon
                        Pragmatic, 15 Jun 2015 @ 6:47am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        The trick is to get as many other people as possible to vote with you. One vote doesn't make a difference but one thousand votes does.

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:54pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    R.H. (profile), 13 Jun 2015 @ 8:48am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Ann Arbor, MI (the city where the University of Michigan is located) tried IRV once, Albert H. Wheeler their first black mayor was elected. The city held a referendum to go back to FPTP the next year. It's too bad that bigotry seems to have removed a chance to see a better system work.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Atkray (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 3:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Great, now I'm afraid someone will throw poo at me.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:58pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:47am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:54am

    Stop F.E.C. PAC? Nah, too confusing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 9:55am

    The stupid is strong with this one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:08am

    Where we are headed...

    We are spiraling toward a future where our entire language might as well be the teacher speaking in Peanuts cartoons. All words will have the same meaning (read: none) as "smurf" does. No wonder people are in danger of being confused.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:08am

    Sounds to me like Tim is a big "Hillary" supporter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      How exactly did you come to that conclusion from reading this article?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:23am

        Re: Re:

        I'm hoping it's a satirical comment meant to show the absurdity of confusing something that's pro-Hillary with something that's con-Hillary.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          What are these terms you use "pro" and "con" or did you really mean "confuse something that's smurf-Hillary with something that's smurf-Hillary"?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And while we are all confused, what exactly is this Hillary thing they are trying to "Stop"?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Simple: Con is the opposite of pro.

            Example: Congress.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:04am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You mean like how "...shall make no law..." and "...shall not be infringed." Actually seem to mean exactly the opposite of what you would think? Opposite like that?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                No, as in, the opposite of PROgress would be CONgress.

                That's what we in the business call a 'dad joke'.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 11:55am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I got your joke. I was just using your post to further criticize how these people think that they can make words mean whatever they want them to mean in attempt to justify whatever they want to do regardless of it's legality.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    The Infamous Joe (profile), 12 Jun 2015 @ 7:10pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Legality? It's not illegal to change the definition of words. It literally happens every day.

                    See what I did there? The definition of literally was amended to add 'Figuratively.' Totes cool, huh?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re:

        When standing on either edge, everything in the middle appears off to one side.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ambrellite, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:16am

    Thanks, FEC, for warning us that you're too incompetent to regulate elections, and then proving it by behaving stupidly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:25am

    What if two candidates share a name? What if 'Stop Hillary' finds anyone with the name Hillary to authorize them?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      Hillaryti ensues.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:55pm

      Re:

      Qualifying for the ballot to run for president isn't that simple in most states.

      Campaigns need to invest money collecting enough signatures to get on the ballot. It's not something any ordinary person can afford to do at the drop of a hat.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 10:27am

    "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"

    Actually the lack of competency of Hillary's supporters is not too far off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:25pm

    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.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 12:57pm

    Can't they just find someone with the name Hillary to "run" as well, and she can endorse the PAC instead? Then FEC would be violating her first amendment rights if they refused her.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 1:38pm

    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. ยง 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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zonker, 12 Jun 2015 @ 2:20pm

    Whatever you do, please do not protest vote for "Mickey Mouse" or "Homer/Marge Simpson". The last thing we need is for Disney or Fox to effectively be our next president.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      David, 13 Jun 2015 @ 3:16am

      Re:

      They've effectively been it the last 10 elections, so what is one more?

      We'd need term limits for lobbying. It should not be allowed to buy more than two governments in a row.

      Heck, it should not be allowed to buy even one, but then one has to start somewhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Sheogorath (profile), 13 Jun 2015 @ 11:20am

      Re:

      Yeah, vote for Scooby Doo or Yogi Bear instead.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2015 @ 5:27pm

    I sure hope she doesn't run. I don't want to see attack ads showing her give Yasser Arafat a hug and kiss. A run by her will also bring out the Republican vote en mass. Thank goodness I don't belong to either "party".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Get Out, 13 Jun 2015 @ 9:56am

    Job Application For Highest Office Position

    None of them ever sent back a job application I sent them, so what's that tell you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 15 Jun 2015 @ 3:31pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Sep 2016 @ 4:19pm

    "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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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