On September 18, the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, reversed the U.S. District Court in Van Hollen v FEC, no. 12-5117. The D.C. Circuit opinion has the effect of canceling a 2007 Federal Election Commission ruling that requires tax-exempt groups to report the name of everyone who contributes at least $1,000 to that group, if that tax-exempt group spends money advocating support or opposition to federal candidates.
Under the new D.C. Circuit ruling, only the names of donors who contribute with the intent that the contribution be used for campaigns must be disclosed. The new decision reimposes the old FEC rule that had been created in 2002. The old rule only requires disclosure of donors who specifically want their donations to be used for campaigning. The new decision eases the paperwork requirement for tax-exempt groups. The decision is per curiam and is signed by Judges Janice Rogers Brown, a Bush Jr. appointee; Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee; and A. Raymond Bush, a Bush Sr. appointee. The new decision reverses the U.S. District Court.
The FEC had not appealed the order of the U.S. District Court, but some intervening tax-exempt groups had appealed, so technically the name of the case then changed from Van Hollen v FEC to Center for Individual Freedom v FEC.