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For Immediate Release
June 28, 2005

Updated June 29, 2005

Contact:
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff
George Smaragdis

THE FRIENDS OF LANE EVANS COMMITTEE AGREES TO PAY

$185,000 CIVIL PENALTY

WASHINGTON -- On June 27, 2005, the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois signed a consent judgment reflecting an agreement between the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the Friends of Lane Evans Committee, the 17th District Victory Fund, and the Rock Island Democratic Central Committee.  The agreement settles litigation (FEC v. Friends of Lane Evans, et al. No. 04-cv-4003), initiated by the FEC, charging the committees with violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).  Friends of Lane Evans will pay a $185,000 civil penalty for violations by the Evans campaign and the 17th District Victory Fund, while the Rock Island Democratic Central Committee has agreed to a $30,000 civil penalty for its role in the violations.

The FEC contended that the Evans Committee created the Victory Fund during the 1998 election cycle in order to assist with the Congressman’s reelection campaign.  The Evans Committee then largely directed the Victory Fund’s operations during the 1998 and 2000 election cycles.  During this period the Victory Fund raised and spent more than $500,000.  Congressman Evans and his staff raised a majority of the money contributed to the Victory Fund, including more than $200,000 in labor union treasury funds, which are prohibited in federal campaigns.

The Victory Fund spent at least $330,000 on voter identification and get-out-the-vote activities promoting Congressman Evans.  The FEC found that these campaign focused activities were so closely coordinated with the campaign that they represented contributions from the Victory Fund to Evans. The contributions exceeded federal limits and included funds from prohibited sources, in violation of FECA. 

The Commission also found that the Rock Island Democratic Central Committee and the Evans campaign coordinated spending of approximately $18,000 on radio and newspaper ads and direct mail that advocated Evans’ election.  This coordinated spending represented excessive contributions, and the Rock Island Committee also failed to register with the Commission and file regular disclosure reports on its financial activity as required by law.

The judgment, signed by U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade, specifies these violations of the FECA.

Defendants agreed to the settlement without admitting or denying the findings of the court.  A copy of the consent judgment is available from the Commission’s Press Office at (202) 694-1220.

MUR 5031

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Friends of Lane Evans, Samuel M. Gilman, treasurer

(b)  17th District Victory Fund, Linda K. Anderson, treasurer

(c)   Rock Island County Democratic Party Central Committee, John A. Gianulis, treasurer

(d)  Democratic Party of Illinois, Michael J. Kasper, treasurer

(e)  Knox County Democratic Central Committee, Jeremy S. Karlin, treasurer

(f)   Chicago & Central States Unite – PEC, James E. Skonicki, treasurer

(g)  Solange MacArthur

(h)  Robert O. Muller

(i)   J. V. Consulting Services

(j)   Strategic Consulting Group

(k)  Michael J. Madigan, Chairman, Democratic Party of Illinois

(l)   Janet K. Hill, Chairman, Knox County Democratic Central Committee

(m) The Honorable Lane Evans

(n)  Eric Nelson, Assistant Treasurer, Friends of Lane Evans

COMPLAINANT:

Rock Island County Republican Committee

SUBJECT:

 Excessive in-kind contributions; failure to report in-kind contributions; failure to file an accurate Statement of Organization; prohibited contributions; failure to timely and accurately register committee; failure to accurately report

disbursements; failure to register and report; corporate contributions; union contributions; excessive contributions; disclaimer

DISPOSITION:

(a)     Probable cause to believe [10/21/03], litigation authorized [12/15/03]*

          [re: excessive in-kind contributions; failure to report in-kind contributions; failure to file an accurate Statement of Organization]

(b)     Probable cause to believe [10/21/03], litigation authorized [12/15/03]*

          [re: excessive in-kind contributions; prohibited contributions; failure to timely and accurately register committee; failure to accurately report      disbursements]

(c)      Probable cause to believe [10/21/03], litigation authorized [12/15/03]*

          [re: failure to register and report; corporate and union contributions; excessive contributions; disclaimer; prohibited contributions]

(a-c)  Consent Judgment: June 27, 2005

          -Friends of Lane Evans - $185,000 civil penalty

          -17th District Victory Fund – Shall pay to the Commission within 30 days of the entry of this Consent Judgment all funds remaining in it accounts on the date    the parties executed the Stipulation for Entry of Consent Judgment.

          -Rock Island Democratic Central Committee - $30,000 civil penalty

(d)     Reason to believe, but took no further action*

          [re: failure to file accurate Statement of Organization; failure to report disbursements; prohibited contributions]

(e)     Took no action*

          Sent admonishment letter. 

          [re: failure to register and report; prohibited contributions; failure to report in-kind contributions]

(f-h)  No reason to believe*

          [re: excessive contributions]

(i)      No reason to believe*

          [re: any provision of the Act]

(j-l)    No reason to believe*

(m-n)  Took no action*       

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5031 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FECs Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.