Litigation We're Watching

Last Updated 10/2021

Ted Cruz for Senate, et al. v. FEC (US Supreme Court Docket No. 21-12). On June 3, 2021, a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that section 304 of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), which limits the repayment of candidate loans, is unconstitutional. On September 30, 2021, the US Supreme Court agreed to consider the case. California’s Political Reform Act has a similar loan limit which may be impacted by the final ruling when this case fully resolves.

de la Torre v. City of Santa Monica (filed March 3, 2021 in Los Angeles County Superior Court). Councilmember filed suit against City of Santa Monica, alleging other council members wrongly voted to exclude Councilman de la Torre from decisions relating to an existing voting rights case against the City in which Councilman de la Torre’s wife is a plaintiff.

End Citizens United PAC v. FEC (No. 21-ev-1665 (TJK) DC circuit, filed 06/21/21), is an example of a case in which the democratic commissioners on the FEC delegate the FEC’s enforcement duties to the courts. The Federal Election Campaign Act allows private parties to sue if the FEC fails to resolve a claim within 120 days. In many of these cases, the FEC has indeed determined to dismiss and close a claim within the 120 days, but the democratic commissioners vote to oppose the formal closure of the case file, leaving the claim “open” beyond the 120 window, and allowing a private person to sue. The democratic commissioners then refuse to authorize the Office of the General Counsel to defend the FEC in the litigation challenging its administrative decision not to investigate a claim, leading to a default by the FEC, and a second bite at liability against a respondent that has already been through an investigation by the FEC.