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FEC Statement on Carey v. FEC
Reporting Guidance for Political Committees that Maintain a Non-Contribution Account
The Federal Election Commission today announced that, consistent with its agreement to a stipulated order and consent judgment dated August 19, 2011 in Carey v. FEC, Civ. No. 11-259-RMC (D. D.C. 2011), it will no longer enforce statutory and regulatory provisions that:
In Carey v. FEC (2) , the National Defense PAC (NDPAC), a nonconnected political committee, sought to solicit and accept unlimited contributions to one bank account for use in making independent expenditures in federal elections, while maintaining a separate bank account subject to the statutory amount limitations and source prohibitions for making contributions to Federal candidates.
On August 19, 2011, the Commission entered into a stipulated order and consent judgment with the plaintiffs agreeing that it would not enforce against plaintiffs the amount limitations in 2 U.S.C. §§ 441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3) of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), as well as any implementing regulations, with regard to contributions received for independent expenditures as long as NDPAC maintains separate bank accounts as described above and allocates its administrative expenses between the accounts in a manner that closely corresponds to the percentage of activity for each account.
The Commission is providing the following guidance to the public on how it intends to proceed consistent with the stipulated order and consent judgment in Carey:
The Commission will no longer enforce 2 U.S.C. §§ 441a(a)(1)(C) and 441a(a)(3), as well as any implementing regulations, against any nonconnected political committee with regard to contributions from individuals, political committees, corporations, and labor organizations, as long as (1) the committee deposits the contributions into a separate bank account for the purpose of financing independent expenditures, other advertisements that refer to a Federal candidate, and generic voter drives (the “Non-Contribution Account”), (2) the Non-Contribution Account remains segregated from any accounts that receive source-restricted and amount-limited contributions for the purpose of making contributions to candidates, and (3) each account pays a percentage of administrative expenses that closely corresponds to the percentage of activity for that account.
Until such time as the Commission adopts a new regulation, nonconnected political committees that wish to establish a separate Non-Contribution Account consistent with the stipulated judgment in Carey should:
The Commission intends to initiate a rulemaking, and to amend its reporting forms accordingly, to address the Carey opinion and stipulated judgment, as well as related court rulings in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, 599 F.3d 686 (D.C. Cir. 2010) and EMILY’s List v. FEC, 581 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2009).
Political committees with specific questions regarding their reporting obligations may contact the Reports Analysis Division at (800) 424-9350 (at the prompt, press 5). Others may contact the Information Division at (800) 424-9530.
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