(CN) – The attorney general can investigate and prosecute possible violations of federal election laws without referral from the Federal Election Commission, the 9th Circuit ruled.
It dismissed a lawsuit brought by Jon Marcus, who claimed he was the target of a politically motivated investigation. Marcus said he was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about alleged campaign finance violations. During his testimony, he said the government tried to coerce him into revealing constitutionally protected information, such as whom he voted for in the 2004 presidential election.
He cited a provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 that allegedly bars Attorney General Eric Holder from investigating or prosecuting criminal violations of the Act unless he receives a referral from the election commission.
A three-judge panel said the 9th Circuit “rejected precisely this argument” in U.S. v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701.
“We have said it before and we say it again: the FECA does not require the Attorney General to receive permission from the FEC before investigating or prosecuting an FECA criminal violation,” Judge Silverman concluded.