FEC takes no action on pro-Hillary 527

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It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were ensconced in a heated battle for the Democratic nomination, but a decision Thursday by the Federal Elections Commission takes us back to those days.

In March 2008 we reported on a 527 political committee called the American Leadership Project (ALP), which spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on pro-Hillary television advertisements (527s are political groups that are largely unregulated and are not subject to contribution limits). Yesterday the FEC finally resolved — sort of — longstanding disputes between that 527 and the Obama camp.

Two formal complaints against ALP were filed with the Federal Election Commission early last year — one by a trio of Obama supporters and the other by Obama’s campaign. The later filing asserted that “ALP and its donors have conspired to circumvent federal campaign finance laws.”

At the time we noted that five of the six individuals who had donated at least $10,000 each to the ALP had already donated the legal maximum of $4,600 to Clinton’s campaign, allowing them to effectively circumvent the campaign finance limits.

When the complaints were filed, the FEC lacked the necessary quorum to address the issue. Now that they are back in business, the FEC voted Thursday to close both matters and take action on neither.

Not that it much matters at this point, since the American Leadership Project and other similar 527s are unlikely to run many more TV spots focused on the 2008 nomination contest.

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