Van Hollen: Ruling a Blow to Transparency
Today Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement on the ruling of the DC Court of Appeals to overturn Van Hollen v. FEC:
“Today the DC Court of Appeals struck a blow against transparency in the funding of political campaigns and reinstated the flawed regulation that rendered the disclosure requirements meaningless – made clear by the fact that millions of dollars of special interest money has flooded the airwaves with ads from anonymous sources. The Court of Appeals’ decision today will keep the American people, for the time being, in the dark about who is attempting to influence their vote with secret money. Hopefully, either the FEC will issue a new disclosure regulation that actually requires disclosure or the District Court will strike down the existing regulation as arbitrary and capricious. We will continue to examine all of our options as we move forward.”
The Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s decision that ruled that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) had created a loophole to existing law by limiting the disclosure of campaign donors only to those who give money for the specific “purpose” of making an “electioneering communication.” The District Court had invalidated the specific “purpose” test that the FEC had read into the statute. Instead, the District Court reinstated the original regulation that required the disclosure of all contributors, not just those who contributed for the purpose of making an electioneering communication.
The Appellate Court remanded the case to the District Court to retain jurisdiction over the case while it refers the matter to the FEC to conduct a new rulemaking. If the FEC chooses not to conduct a new rulemaking, the District Court is to make a determination about whether the existing regulation is arbitrary and capricious.