The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Garrett Russo 202.408.5565

CREW Files Suit Against the Federal Election Commission


Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and
CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan filed suit against the Federal
Election Commission (FEC) in the U.S. District Court for the District of
Columbia, CREW v. Fed. Election Comm'n (D.D.C.). The suit
seeks to end the FEC's practice of summarily dismissing complaints
without explanation, leaving complainants insufficient information to
sue the agency for failing to enforce campaign finance laws.

For the past two years, the FEC has demonstrated a pattern and
practice of dismissing complaints because the Republican and Democratic
commissioners are deadlocked 3 to 3, particularly in controversial
cases. In such cases, the law gives complainants 60 days to file suit
in federal court asking for judicial review of the dismissals. But
because the FEC frequently fails to provide a rationale for its decision
before the 60 days expire, complainants cannot file a lawsuit in which
they would have to explain how or why the FEC erred.

"The gridlock at the FEC makes the Senate look high-functioning in
comparison," said Ms. Sloan. "The FEC is clearly a broken agency.
Instead of ensuring fair elections in which all players follow the
rules, too often commissioners refuse to act, and then, refuse to even
explain why they failed to act. This leaves Americans in the dark, with
no legal remedy. Even worse, candidates can freely break campaign
finance laws to gain an edge in a federal election without any fear of

CREW and Ms. Sloan are seeking a declaratory judgment that the FEC's
actions are arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law. They are
seeking an injunction to compel the FEC to provide explanations for
dismissal within the 60 day statute of limitations so complainants can
seek judicial review.

"The FEC is deliberately manipulating the law to conceal its
decisions in the hopes of running out the clock on any potential appeals
of its decisions. This is wrong, and it must stop," added Ms. Sloan.

to read CREW's complaint in CREW v. FEC.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.