Why Is The FEC Discriminating Against Unity 08?

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in General Politics

I just went surfing over to the Unity 08 site, as I do from time to time, and I found this:

The FEC, the very agency that oversees a system that allows obscene amounts of special interest money to flow in favor of the two major parties, ruled to place strict limits on the money Unity08 can raise! Specifically, the FEC put in place a strict $5,000 limit on any contribution to Unity08, but leaves the limits for the Democratic and Republican parties at $25,000 per contribution – that’s five times as much!

Of course, Unity08 had long ago voluntarily instituted a $5,000 cap as part of our promise to reduce the influence of money on politics. And as you know, Unity08 refuses to take money from corporations or special interests. So nothing about our operations will change.

But this decision shows that “Official Washington” has taken notice and has begun to mobilize to keep this movement of American voters from shaking things up!

Huh? Why would the FEC do this? I want their reasoning because, on its face, this decision seems to be pushing potential competition out of the way.

Then again, could the FEC have a good reason for this under current restrictions they already have?

In any event, the Unity 08 folks need to be a bit clearer as to why this went down.


This entry was posted on Sunday, October 29th, 2006 and is filed under General Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Why Is The FEC Discriminating Against Unity 08?”

  1. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    Looks like the FEC is treating Unity ’08 as a PAC, probably considering it a form of multi-candidate PAC. Guess the question is, does Unity ’08 consider itself a political party and did it file as such? I wonder what restrictions exist for say the Libertarian Party or Constitutional Law Party. If those are also restricted to $5000 contributions, then we’d really have to question what trick the FEC is trying to pull. But if those other parties are allowed contributions up to $25,000, then it would appear Unity ’08 should have filed different paperwork if they wanted higher limits.

  2. Richard Winger Says:

    The FEC recognizes 8 parties as “national committees”. They are the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Socialist, Constitution, Green, Natural Law and Reform Parties. They can all receive contributions of $25,000. In the past, the FEC has refused to recognize a party as a “national committee” until AFTER it has been on the ballot and run a presidential candidate and a few candidates for Congress. So it is consistent that Unity.08 can’t be a “national committee”. But it is outrageous for the FEC to put any limits on Unity.08 at all, since it is not sponsoring or in any way boosting any particular candidate.

  3. Glen Wishard Says:

    So a 25K contribution is an “obscene” amount, and 5K is a monstrous injustice? Instead of scrabbbling for some obscene money of their own, maybe Unity 08 should propose limiting everybody to $5,000 contributions.

  4. Kevin Says:

    Um Glen, you did read the part where Unity ’08 said they were already limiting incoming contributions to $5,000, right? That would strike me as inconsistent with “scrabbling for some obscene money of their own”

  5. ascap_scab Says:

    In looking at the FEC / IRS rules. Donations to the Political Committees (RNC, DNC, etc.) are not tax deductable. Unity ’08 is currently registered as a 527 “issue” tax-exempt group. Unity ’08′s plan is/was to remain a 527 until the selection of nominees in 2008, at which time they would then switch to Political Committee status.

    http://www.clcblog.org/assets/attachments/aor2006-20.pdf

    During Unity ’08′s Request for Advisory Opinion comment period, they stated that were self-limiting contributions to $5,000. In doing so, I think the commissioners were willing to set that limit while Unity ’08 remains a 527.

    http://www.clcblog.org/assets/attachments/AO_2006-20_Blue_Draft_Packet.9.29.06.pdf

    http://www.fec.gov/agenda/2006/approve06-65.pdf

    In the draft ruling, the FEC, I think correctly, ruled that Unity ’08 would have to register as a Political Committee and thus removing its tax-exempt status. Presumably when it does so, contributions to Unity ’08 will then be made equal to the other Political Committees.

    Here is the FEC final ruling.

    http://ao.nictusa.com/ao/no/060020.html

    What is telling, I think, is that those in charge of Unity ’08 chose not to share these documents while crying foul.

  6. PatHMV Says:

    So far as I’ve seen, Unity ’08 is going out of the way to claim it is NOT a political party. So why is it complaing that the FEC is not treating it as a political party?

    And why don’t they take this opportunity to realize just how screwball campaign finance reform laws are and object to the whole ball of wax. Like it does with so many issues, Unity ’08 wants to have it both ways on this issue.

    Just by whining about this issue, they have moved away from their original promise to discuss only issues of critical importance to the American people, and not the normal political finger-pointing.

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