As previously reported, on March 17, 2011, the Libertarian National Committee sued the Federal Election Commission, to gain the ability to receive a bequest of $217,734 that had been left to the party by Raymond Burrington, who had died on April 26, 2007. Federal campaign laws prevent anyone from giving that much money to a national committee of a political party in any one calendar year.
On May 3, the FEC had filed a motion, asking the Libertarian Party’s attorneys to clarify the complaint. The FEC said the Libertarian Party complaint did not explain whether the party is only trying to defeat the limit on how much money a deceased person can give to a national committee for any purpose, or whether the party is also trying to defeat the limit on how much money a deceased person may give for the purpose of helping candidates running for President and/or Congress. On May 17, the Libertarian Party filed an amended complaint, clarifying that it is attacking all limits on how much money a deceased person may give, and that the party believes a deceased person’s contribution ought to be available for helping federal candidates, as well as for party projects that are not tied directly to any candidate’s campaign. Now that this has been clarified, the 3-judge court already set for this case has been dissolved, and the case is on its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The federal campaign laws specify rules for which court handles which type of case, and because this lawsuit now attacks part of the law passed in 1974, the law says such a challenge goes directly to the D.C. Circuit.