Shays, Meehan sue FEC

Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) yesterday sued the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to challenge its new regulations on campaign communications that can be legally coordinated between candidates and outside groups.

The lawmakers and their counsel, including Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer, argue that the FEC standard flouts a federal ruling on a lawsuit filed by Shays and Meehan in 2003. The FEC’s new definition of “coordinated communications,” which takes effect today, “authorize[s] more coordinated activity, not less” and permits “a coordination ‘free-for-all’ during much of the election year in many states,” according to yesterday’s filing.

Shays and Meehan are also asking the U.S. District Court to overturn FEC rules governing state party spending on federal election activities and soft-money solicitation by federal candidates at state fundraisers. Both rules, the lawmakers argue, breach the McCain-Feingold law they sponsored in the House.