Court Upholds Subpoena Of Records From LaRouche Organization
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ An organization headed by political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche must submit documents subpoenaed by the Federal Election Commission, a federal appeals court ruled today.
The decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. of Alexandria.
The FEC subpoenaed books, records and other data in its investigation of Caucus Distributors Inc. Among the records sought by the FEC, the appeals court said, were lists of potential magazine subscribers or contributors to the LaRouche organization.
Caucus contended that the subpoena is overbroad and that it violated the First Amendment rights of magazine publishers for which the organization solicits subscriptions.
″We think that the material sought was relevant to the investigation which had begun,″ the appeals court said. ″Nor do we perceive any First Amendment violation because Caucus’ unsubstantiated fears of a chilling effect on their right to association are overcome by the compelling government interest in proper enforcement of the federal election law.″
The court also found no merit in Caucus’ argument that because the subpoena was issued in New York, enforcement in Virginia should be barred.
LaRouche is a frequent candidate for president. Magazines sold by Caucus often reflect his viewpoints, which include theories of world conspiracies.
The case stems from a complaint filed in July 1983, by now-Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., against Citizens for Freeman, the principal 1982 campaign committee of Debra Freeman, who was a candidate opposing Mikulski’s re- election to the U.S. House.
Mikulski contended that representatives of two LaRouche-related magazines solicited contributions for Citizens for Freeman in what amounted to an illegal in-kind contribution, said Karen Finucan, FEC spokeswoman. Mikulski’s complaint alleged that money given to join or subscribe to the magazines ″was diverted to the Freeman campaign and falsely reported as contributions to the individuals solicited.″
She said Caucus Distributors handled solicitations and subscriptions for the magazines under a contract.
Bryan ordered Caucus to comply with the FEC’s subpoena in May 1986, and in June the company gave the FEC some information but did not comply fully with the subpoena, she said. The District Court found Caucus in civil contempt and imposed a $250 per day fine until it complied.