Appeals Court, in Defeat for Van Hollen, Backs Campaign Rule

Posted January 21, 2016 at 4:26pm

A federal appeals court upheld a Federal Election Commission’s public reporting rule on Thursday, dealing a blow to campaign finance disclosure advocates and the lawmaker who brought the challenge.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., over the FEC’s rule about reporting backers of “electioneering communications,” or advertisements that picture or name candidates on the eve of an election.

The FEC requires public reporting only of donors who earmark their contributions for those ads, a regulation Van Hollen said was too narrow and contrary to a 2002 law (PL 107-155) that bans so-called soft money. Van Hollen’s office didn’t have an immediate comment on the ruling.

Thursday’s decision is the second time the D.C. Circuit has reversed a lower court ruling that had sided with Van Hollen on the issue.