A conservative political action committee called "Stop R.E.I.D. PAC" is the latest target of the Federal Election Commission's name police.
Paul Stoetzer, a senior campaign finance analyst at the agency, recently told Stop R.E.I.D. PAC treasurer Dan Backer that he must "change the name of your political committee so that it does not include the candidate's name" — unless the outfit is authorized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., which it's not.
Fat chance, says Backer, a Virginia-based lawyer who's riding a measure of fame as the driving force behind McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court case that ended aggregate limits on campaign contributions to candidates, PACs and party committees earlier this month.
Backer told the Center for Public Integrity that the committee's name is, technically, Stop Reckless Economic Instability Caused by Democrats PAC. Therefore, he said, its acronym "happens to coincidently match the name of a particular candidate who the PAC sees as epitomizing all that is wrong with America."
It's the latest nomenclatural go-around between federal regulators and Backer, who has made a cottage industry out of challenging federal election laws and regulations. He has also drawn the FEC's ire of late for his involvement with groups named "Stop Pelosi PAC" and "Stand With Rand PAC."
As with Stop R.E.I.D. PAC, Backer has argued that these names don't clearly identify a specific candidate and therefore don't violate federal law — Stand With Rand, for example, could just as well reference economic theorist Ayn Rand, he said.