FEC Donor Law Dispute Won’t Run on a Tangent

     WASHINGTON (CN) – A nonprofit that intervened in a congressman’s now resolved dispute with the Federal Election Committee cannot file its own pleadings, a federal judge ruled.
     Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., successfully sued the FEC in 2011 after he took issue with revisions made to the commission’s disclosure requirements in 2007 amid several court rulings on the issue, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 resolution of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
     The revisions allowed groups sponsoring election advertisements to shield donors’ identities, a move that Van Hollen said frustrated Congress’ intent in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act by “creating a major loophole” in disclosure, which allows corporations “to disclose only some contributors of $1,000 or more, i.e. donors who have manifested a particular state of mind or ‘purpose.'”
     U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled in favor of Van Hollen in 2012.
     Judge Jackson agreed to let the Center for Individual Freedom, a nonprofit civil liberties group, intervene as a defendant in the case, but ruled that the group can’t amend and supplement its answer, a motion that would let the center bring three cross-claims against the FEC.
     “Granting the motion would alter and expand the nature and scope of the litigation and would prejudice the other parties by unnecessarily delaying resolution of the action and increasing the cost of the litigation,” the brief three-page ruling states.
     Van Hollen claimed in his lawsuit that the FEC revisions would harm his 2012 re-election efforts by shielding those who make statements against him. He won his re-election handily.
     “This victory will compel the FEC to require more enhanced disclosures of the funders of campaign-related advertisements,” he said in a statement after his summary judgment over the FEC.
     He called the ruling “good news for our democracy and for voters.”
     The Center for Individual Liberties will not be as happy with Jackson’s most recent ruling in the matter.
     Jackson said it wanted leave to amend and supplement its pleading to make reference to events that “transpired not only after the entry of judgment but after appeal, and to raise claims whose adjudication depends upon an entirely different administrative record than the one already before the court.”
     The judge denied the group’s motion.

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