Jill Stein v. FEC, No. 21-1213 (D.C. Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
The federal government funds certain expenses incurred by presidential candidates at specific times during their primary campaigns. Jill Stein, who ran for President in 2016, contends that a temporal limit on this funding unconstitutionally discriminates against minor-party candidates. Stein also contests an administrative ruling that she forfeited the right to document certain costs of winding down her campaign, which could have offset a repayment obligation that she owed the government.
The DC Circuit denied her petition. The court explained that FEC regulations required her to reassert the issue in her written submission for administrative review. Further, Stein argued that the Commission should be estopped from claiming forfeiture because its audit report stated that the winding down costs “estimated” for the period between September 2018 and July 2019 “will be compared to actual winding down costs and will be adjusted accordingly.” The court wrote that it does not read this statement to relieve Stein of her duty to address winding down costs in her request for administrative review, which was filed near the end of that period. The court explained that it recognizes that Stein could not predict the exact amount of future winding down costs. But she could have done much more to alert the FEC that she expected those costs to exceed the estimates in the audit report—and to do so by a substantial amount.