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COMMON CAUSE v. FEC

January 24, 1990

COMMON CAUSE, Plaintiff,
v.
FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, Defendant


Gerhard A. Gesell, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GESELL

GERHARD A. GESELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

 I. Findings of Fact.

 1. Plaintiff, Common Cause, is a nonprofit membership corporation whose activities include efforts to reform campaign finance practices.

 2. Defendant, the Federal Election Commission ("FEC" or "Commission"), is an independent agency of the United States Government charged with enforcing the federal election laws.

 3. The National Republican Senatorial Committee ("NRSC") is a political committee registered with the FEC under the Federal Election Campaign Act, 2 U.S.C. § 431 et seq., and is dedicated to the election of Republican candidates to the United States Senate.

 4. On or about September 2, 1986, the NRSC mass-mailed a solicitation for contributions on the letterhead of the Vice President of the United States, with the purported signature of then-Vice President George Bush.

 a. The NRSC sent out twenty-four different versions of the solicitation letter, each mentioning four states in which U.S. Senate campaigns were occurring in 1986 but not mentioning the names of the Republican candidates in those states. In total, twelve different campaigns were mentioned in the letters, although some campaigns were mentioned in more letters than other campaigns.

 b. The different versions of the solicitation letters were sent to different mailing lists with different histories of giving in support of Republican candidates, and requested different amounts of money, depending on that past history of support.

 c. Each solicitation letter indicated that the amount contributed in response to that letter would be divided equally among the four campaigns mentioned in the letter.

 d. Each solicitation letter requested that the recipient make his or her check payable to the NRSC or organizations under the control of the NRSC (such as the "Inner Circle" or "Republican Presidential Task Force"), and the funds received as a result of the solicitation were deposited in the bank accounts under the control of the NRSC. The funds were then disbursed by the NRSC to the various campaigns.

 e. The solicitation letters stated that they were authorized and paid for by the NRSC, and did not state that they were authorized or paid for by any of the campaigns mentioned in those letters.

 f. The states mentioned in the NRSC Bush mailings were: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, South Dakota and Vermont. The Republican candidates in those states, respectively, were: Jeremiah Denton, Asa Hutchinson, Ed Zschau, Kenneth Kramer, Paula Hawkins, Mack Mattingly, Henson Moore, Christopher Bond, James Santini, James Broyhill, James Abdnor and Richard Snelling.

 5. The twelve campaigns mentioned in the letters each signed an agreement with the NRSC agreeing to pay for the cost of mailings mentioning their race.

 6. No candidate participated in the planning, approval, implementation or oversight of the NRSC solicitation program, nor did any candidate authorize or approve the ...


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