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Campaign Contributions:
Federal Election Commission v. Akins, James, et al.

Appealed From: U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia
Subject: Campaign Contributions

Argued: Jan. 14, 1998

Decided: June 1, 1998
Vote: 6-3
At Issue: Whether an organization is considered a "political committee" under federal campaign finance laws if it spends more than $1,000 per calendar year on contributions or coordinated expenditures but does not exist to support a political candidate, or to nominate or elect candidates. Also, whether respondents in this lawsuit had standing to bring it.

Decision: By a 6-3 vote, the justices decided that the Federal Election Commission can be sued over its decision not to require certain groups to report their campaign spending. The decision also noted that the FEC should determine which expenditures undertaken by a group should be reported.

Read the 1995 decision from a three-judge panel and the en banc 1996 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia on the lower court's Web site.

Read more about campaign finance laws at the Federal Election Commission Web site.

Background from The Post
High Court Hears Case on Lobby Disclosure Rules (Jan. 15, 1998)
Supreme Court to Review Disclosure of Lobbying Groups' Political Spending (June 17, 1997)

Sources: The Washington Post, Supreme Court, The United States Law Week (a Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. publication)

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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