FEC Appeals Campaign Finance Ruling

The Federal Election Commission on Monday asked an appeals court to reconsider a decision ordering the FEC to write tougher rules to carry out a 2002 campaign finance law.

The White House responded by saying that it couldn't get involved in the case. In a Jan. 4, 1984 memo, Roberts said it had received another plea from Jones.

"Mr. Jones suggests in his letter that you would have reacted differently to an alleged civil rights violation, and in a thinly veiled threat, asserts that the alleged insensitivity of the administration to fundamentalist Christians will not go unnoticed by that sizable voting block," Roberts said in a memo to Fielding.

The commission could have taken the case to the Supreme Court, but instead decided to first ask the full federal appeals court in Washington to consider it. A smaller panel of appellate judges last month upheld U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly's 2004 decision striking down several FEC rules interpreting the new law.

The law, approved by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2002 years after its sponsors began fighting for it, bans congressional and presidential candidates and national party committees from raising corporate and union money in any amount and unlimited donations from any source.

The law also bars the use of corporate and union money for election-time ads, among other new limits.

Kollar-Kotelly struck down more than a dozen commission regulations that she said opened loopholes that savvy political players could exploit. The law's sponsors, including Reps. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., and Marty Meehan, D-Mass., had sued to try to force the FEC to write stronger regulations.

The FEC says there is no evidence its rules have led to abuses. The commission also contends the lawmakers had no legal right to sue over the regulations.

"The case directly affects the commission's ability as an independent agency to interpret and administer the federal election laws while being sensitive to First Amendment values," FEC Vice Chairman Michael Toner said. The commission has argued it made the rules as tough as it could while still meeting free-speech standards.

The FEC consists of three Democrats and three Republicans appointed by the president.