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.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.
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.