Federal Election Commission v. Akins

524 U.S. 11 (1998)


The Federal Election Commission made a determination that the AIPAC was not a political committee as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. As such, the Commission refused to require that AIPAC make disclosures regarding its membership, contributions, and expenditures. Akins (Ps) opposed this ruling and sued. Under the Act, there was an extensive record keeping and disclosure requirement upon groups that fall with the Act's definition of a political committee. A political committee was defined as any committee, club, association, or other group of person which receives more than $1,000 in contributions or which makes more than $1,000 in expenditures in any given year. P, a group of voters with views opposed to those of AIPAC wanted the FEC to treat the AIPAC as a political committee within the confines of the Act. P filed a complaint with the FEC, and AIPAC responded by asking the FEC to dismiss the complaint. AIPAC denied it made any kind of expenditures that matter for FECA purposes. The FEC ruled that it was real close whether AIPAC was a political committee but decided not to proceed further and that AIPAC was not subject to disclosure requirements even though the FEC made findings that would subject the AIPAC to such requirements. The FEC reasoned that political committees included only those organizations that have as a major purpose the nomination or election of candidates. The FEC determined that AIPAC was an issue-oriented lobbying organization and not a campaign-related one. The FEC argued that P's lacked standing.