Federal Election Commission Staff Prepares a Draft of a Possible Ruling, Extending Socialist Workers Party Exemption from Campaign Reporting

The Federal Election Commission will meet on March 23 and decide whether to extend the current exemption from campaign reporting that the Socialist Workers Party has been entitled to since 1974. On March 9, FEC staff prepared a possible draft for a ruling that would extend the exemption until 2020. This draft is far more sophisticated than earlier FEC drafts that denied an extension. To read the new draft, click on the link. Then choose “Pending Advisory Opinion Request.” Then choose “Draft AO Agenda Document No. 17-01-C.”

The new draft says, “The Socialist Workers Party candidate for President in 2016 achieved general election ballot access in seven states and received approximately 12,000 votes. The SWP has not placed any candidates on the ballot for the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives since 2012…the SWP and committees supporting its candidates receive very small amounts of contributions and very low vote totals in partisan elections relative to other political parties. This suggests that the activities of the SWP, its candidates, and committees supporting its candidates have little, if any, impact on federal elections.”

The new draft also incorporates instances of government and private harassment of SWP candidates and supporters that occurred in 2016.

Although there is no guarantee that the FEC commissioners will choose this draft, as opposed to the earlier drafts denying the extension of the exemption, the obvious higher quality of this draft makes it seem likely that it will be accepted by the Commissioners.


Comments

Federal Election Commission Staff Prepares a Draft of a Possible Ruling, Extending Socialist Workers Party Exemption from Campaign Reporting — 3 Comments

  1. It sounds to me like the FEC is saying “The SWP can keep their exemption because they don’t matter.”

  2. Nobody should be exempt from the law. It’s a bad law, but if others have to follow it, then the SWP should have to follow it.

  3. The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 1982 that parties that can show harassment may be exempt. Brown v Socialist Workers ’74 Campaign Committee. Also in Buckley v Valeo in 1976, the US Supreme Court upheld disclosure but said that if there is harassment, and it can be shown factually, then exemption is OK.

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