Federal Election Commission v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

PETITIONER: Federal Election Commission
RESPONDENT: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
LOCATION: Minnesota State Capitol Building

DOCKET NO.: 80-939
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1981-1986)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 454 US 27 (1981)
ARGUED: Oct 06, 1981
DECIDED: Nov 10, 1981

ADVOCATES:
Charles Nevett Steele - for Federal Election Commission
Jan W. Baran - on behalf of the Petitioner, NRSC
Robert F. Bauer - on behalf of Respondent, DSCC

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Federal Election Commission v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 06, 1981 in Federal Election Commission v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - November 10, 1981 in Federal Election Commission v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee

Warren E. Burger:

The judgment and opinion of the Court in Federal Election Commission against the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the related case will be announced by Mr. Justice White.

Byron R. White:

Under the federal election laws, the congressional campaign committees of the Republican and Democratic parties are not among those political committees that are authorized to spend money to further the election of their respective candidates.

The national committees of the two parties however as well as the state committees of the parties are authorized to make such expenditures up to the amount specified in the law.

The question in this case is whether the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee is authorized under the Act to act as the agent of a state committee in making expenditures that the state committee is specifically authorized to make.

The Federal Election Commission in rejecting a complaint of the Democratic party held that the agency arrangement is permissible.

The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed.

In its view, the plain terms of the Act foreclosed the congressional committee acting on behalf of the state committee.

We granted certiorari and we now reverse.

We do not agree that the plain language of the Act forbids this agency relationship between the congressional committee and the state committee.

We also think that the agency's construction of the Act is a reasonable one and we should defer to it as a permissible way of carrying out the purposes of the Act.

Our views are set out in greater length in an opinion we have filed and the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

The Court is unanimous.

Mr. Justice Stevens however has filed a concurring opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Justice White.