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FEC Fight

Lawyers for Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) delivered a blistering attack on the Federal Election Commission this week in a nine-page response to the FEC’s request for a stay of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly’s Sept. 18 decision invalidating 15 campaign finance regulations written by the watchdog agency. [IMGCAP(1)]

Arguing that the FEC’s failure to give the regulated community and public any guidance before “belatedly” returning to the court 13 days later for clarification, the attorneys accused the FEC of “complete abdication” of its “responsibility.”

However, Shays and Meehan would be amenable to a stay pending appeal subject to “two reasonable conditions,” their counsel argued.

First, they asked that the FEC immediately state which portions of Kollar-Kotelly’s decision it plans to challenge. Secondly, they want the FEC to join them in asking for an expedited review by the appeals court “in order to allow new rules to be in effect as early in the 2006 election cycle as possible.”

Kollar-Kotelly will make a determination regarding a stay — though the FEC will have the option of asking the appeals court to reconsider if she denies the request.

Independence Day? The Democratic National Committee topped the list of those making independent expenditures in September.

According to the FEC, the DNC spent a whopping $24.5 million, mostly opposing President Bush — putting the party committee well head of the National Republication Congressional Committee, which ranked second with about $7.1 million in independent expenditures.

In all, party committees and political action committees made $45.5 million in independent expenditures on behalf of or against federal candidates last month, whereas $12.3 million worth of electioneering communications were reported during the month of September.

Unlike independent expenditures, broadcast ads classified as electioneering communications may mention, but not expressly advocate the election or defeat of, federal candidates.

Rounding out the top five financiers of independent expenditures were: the MoveOn PAC, which spent $5.7 million; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which spent about $2.2 million; and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which doled out $1.6 million.

— Amy Keller

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