Former FEC Chair Smith joins litigation team to create "Super-Duper" PACs

Published Wed, Apr 27 2011 5:19 PM

Prof. Bradley A. Smith, former chairman of the FEC; Allison Hayward, vice-president for policy at the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) and RNLA member; and Allen Dickerson, CCP's legal director, have signed on as co-counsel in Carey et al v. FEC (D.D.C. Civ. No. 11- 259-RMC).

RADM James J. Carey, USN (ret), chairman of the National Defense PAC, along with the PAC and a prospective donor, brought suit after the FEC deadlocked on a 2010 Advisory Opinion Request (see AO 2010-20), in which the PAC sought permission to operate a "Super-Duper" PAC, combining an independent expenditure-only PAC and PAC that makes direct contributions to candidates as a single entity for FEC purposes (if an independent expenditure-only PAC is a super PAC, what else would you call  this new entity other than a Super-Duper PAC? A Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious PAC? Wikipedia suggests Mega-PAC, but that's just not as much fun.)

Dan Backer, principal at DB Capitol Strategies. made the AO request on behalf of the PAC, and serves as lead counsel in the litigation. Backer argued that, following Citizens United v. FEC, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010) (Legal Information Institute copy) and SpeechNow v. FEC, 599 F.3d 686 (D.C. Cir. 2010) (FEC Copy of Opinion), that there is no legal basis for a prohibition on non-connected PACs to maintain two separate bank accounts--one that accepts unlimited contributions and makes independent expenditures and pays the PAC's administrative expenses; and one that accepts limited contributions in order to make direct contributions to candidates.

For additional information on the litigation and its background, see--

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# Dan Backer said on Friday, April 29, 2011 10:09 AM

In the interest of full disclosure, I also wrote the Wikipedia article last fall (pre-suit).  Though, I'm now partial to "Super-Duper PAC".

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