In a statement, the FEC noted that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia found an FEC rule adopted in 2007 was invalid, and reinstated the rule that it had replaced. The ruling came in a lawsuit against the FEC by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
The 2007 regulation "governed electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations, required that their donors be disclosed only if their donations were 'made for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications,'" the FEC said Friday. "The district court found that this limitation on disclosure contravened Congress' intent and noted that the Commission's pre-2007 regulation 'did not add an intent requirement."
The FEC statement said the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had denied motions by the Center for Individual Freedom and the Hispanic Leadership Fund -- identified as defendant in intervenor in the lawsuit -- to stay the lower court order pending appeal.
To comply with the district court order, the FEC said it will require greater disclosure of campaign donations.
"Effective March 30, 2012, persons making disbursements for electioneering communications should report the name and address of each donor who donated an amount aggregating $1,000 or more to the person making the disbursement, aggregating since the first day of the preceding calendar year."
The court ruling and the FEC announcement may affect the ability of non-profits characterizing themselves as social welfare organizations to raise funds from anonymous donors to pay for ads, political analysts said.