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Federal Election Commission v. National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
6 F.3d 821 (1993)


Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), 2 U.S.C. § 431 et seq., creating and authorizing the Federal Election Commission (Commission) (defendant) to enforce FECA. The Commission consisted of six voting commissioners appointed by the president and two non-voting ex officio commissioners (the Senate secretary and the House of Representatives clerk). After the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) (plaintiff) transferred money to its political action committee (PAC), the Commission instituted an enforcement action against the NRA-ILA for a FECA violation. The NRA-ILA filed suit against the Commission in federal district court, challenging the Commission’s authority to bring the enforcement action. The district court ruled in favor of the Commission, finding that the NRA-ILA violated FECA. The NRA-ILA appealed, arguing that the Commission lacked authority because Congress’s placement of the two ex officio members on the Commission violated the separation-of-powers doctrine.

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Holding and Reasoning (Silberman, J.)

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