Opinion

Watchdog group claims Federal Election Commission improperly denied FOIA request

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Freedom of Information Act,FEC,Spencer Brown

The Center for Competitive Politics on Monday sued the Federal Election Commission, alleging the FEC denied the group's Freedom of Information Act request for a document that "relates to a complaint against Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies that was dismissed last December."

The document that the CCP seeks to acquire is an "unredacted copy of the First General Counsel's Report" from June 22, 2011, according the the group's original FOIA request. This report, claims the CCP, should be publicly available "as a matter of longstanding policy reflected in federal regulations."

Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) non-profit group, became the subject of a complaint when allegations that the group broke federal campaign finance rules were made. The FEC ruled that Crossroads GPS had not broken the rules, but refused to release both versions of the first general counsel's report, which were part of CCP's FOIA request.

CCP believes "the two documents have unknown differences in the legal test used by the FEC’s General Counsel to determine if an organization must register as a political committee." In this, the CCP claims, "the FEC hid this possible change from organizations seeking to comply with the FEC's interpretation of federal law."

CCP v. FEC

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
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