Federal District Judge Tanya Chutkan of Washington, D.C. ruled on Wednesday that a complaint by third parties against the FEC was legitimate and must be taken seriously
The Federal Elections Commission had decided a complaint against them that presidential debates were excluding third parties was unfounded, but it hasn’t held up in court.
Federal District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of Washington, D.C. ruled on Wednesday that the FEC must reconsider their decision regarding a lawsuit filed in August 2015, known as Leveling the Playing Field v. FEC (Case No. 15-cv-1397) and had 60 days to do so.
The lawsuit calls into question the FEC’s rule that a candidate must have a 15% or higher support in polls as being subjective and exclusionary to third parties, making the debates a “bipartisan campaign commercial”, as Libertarian National Committee chair Nicholas Sarwark remarked.
Judge Chutkan wrote in her opinion accompanying her ruling,
“This begs the question: if under these facts the FEC does not consider the fifteen percent polling criterion to be subjective, what would be? Unfortunately, the FEC articulated no analysis, and the court cannot discern the FEC’s reasoning.”
A PDF of the opinion and ruling from the Judge can be downloaded here.