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FEC asks for rehearing of decision overturning campaign finance rules

[JURIST] The Federal Elections Commission [official website] has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that the FEC must write tougher rules for the enforcement of campaign financing laws. The FEC filed a petition for a rehearing en banc Monday, asking the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to reconsider its decision in Shays v. FEC [PDF opinion; JURIST report]. In July, a three-judge panel upheld the district court decision [PDF text; JURIST report] which struck down several FEC rules interpreting the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 [FEC materials] because they created loopholes in the law designed to limit campaign fundraising. Explaining its reasons for seeking the rehearing, the FEC says:

In deciding to request a rehearing by all the judges of the Appeals Court, the FEC was concerned that the earlier ruling introduces significant instability in the political process. The ruling effectively permits candidates for federal office to seek judicial review of any Commission regulation, even if the rules have not yet had any impact on the candidate or other regulated entities. Moreover, no evidence has been presented that the FEC rules in question have led to abuses, and in past decisions the D.C. Circuit has held that agencies are entitled to substantial deference in these circumstances. This deference is especially important when the rules in question touch on basic First Amendment rights of free speech and association.
Read the full FEC press release and a review FEC case materials. AP has more.

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