CCD is taking 2016 Green Party Presidential Candidate Dr. Jill Stein's long-running legal battle against the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
On September 30, 2021 -- nearly five years after the 2016 presidential election -- the FEC notified Dr. Stein that she and her campaign committee must repay $175,272 in primary matching funds received during that election. The Stein Campaign spent the funds on petition drives to obtain ballot access nationwide -- activity that the FEC itself identifies as equivalent to a primary election -- but the FEC nevertheless concluded that the expenditures were not qualified primary expenses. Now it is demanding repayment of the entire amount. And Dr. Stein herself is personally liable for the payment.
"The FEC is treating this matter as a routine audit," said CCD counsel Oliver Hall, "but an order to repay $175,272 five years after the fact, when the Stein Campaign is effectively terminated and has no funds, is punitive in the extreme."
CCD has therefore filed a petition for review of the FEC's repayment order in the D.C. Circuit. The appeal will be briefed and argued in the coming months. Then the Court will decide whether to vacate the FEC's order or provide other relief.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stein has been forced to withdraw $175,272 from her retirement savings and deposit it in an escrow account until her appeal is decided.
"If the FEC is permitted to enforce this order, it will have a devastating impact on Dr. Stein personally," Hall said. "But it will also deter other qualified candidates from seeking matching funds for their campaigns -- who can afford the risk of getting stuck with a $175,000 bill five years after an election?"
CCD is representing Dr. Stein pro bono. To support our work, please make a tax-deductible contribution.