The Federal Election Commission is set to tell Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a member of the Tea Party Caucus, that he can’t become the first politician in the country to form his very own “super PAC” during their public meeting next week.
A draft ruling posted by the FEC on Wednesday in response to a request for an advisory opinion Lee filed last month would deny the Utah Republican and his leadership PAC, the Constitutional Conservatives Fund PAC, the ability to create a separate account for unlimited contributions — or “soft money” — used to fuel independent expenditure ads.
“The Commission concludes that all funds the Committee receives in connection with an election for Federal office must be subject to the Act’s limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements,” the draft ruling states. “Therefore, the Committee may neither receive unlimited contributions from individuals nor receive any contributions from corporations and labor organizations for the purpose of financing independent expenditures.”
Campaign finance reform groups had urged the FEC to reject the request last month, with Campaign Legal Center FEC Program Director Paul S. Ryan calling it an “easy question” and Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer calling it “open and shut.”
The fact that only one draft was posted suggests a rare moment of agreement between the six members of the commission — three Republicans, three Democrats — which has often split ideologically on controversial matters. Democracy 21’s Wertheimer, noting how tough it is to predict how commissioners will come down on an issue, suggested to HuffPost’s Paul Blumenthal that people “are throwing everything they can think of up against the wall to see what sticks.”