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For Immediate Release
September 22, 2005
Contact: Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis
COMPLIANCE CASES MADE PUBLIC
 

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission has recently made public its final action on a three matters previously under review (MURs). This release contains only disposition information.

1.

MUR 5489

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Citizens for a Sound Economy, Inc. (FKA Freedom        Works, Inc.]

(b)   Russ Walker, Northwest Director, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Inc.

(c)   Nader for President 2004, Carl M. Mayer, treasurer

(d)  Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc., David Herndon, treasurer

(e)   Oregon Republican Party, Charles Oakes, treasurer

(f)    Kevin L. Mannix

(g)   Steve Schmidt

(h)   Oregon Family Council

(i)    Tim Nashif

(j)    Michael White

COMPLAINANTS:

Ellen Lowe

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [5475 – See MUR Release April 14, 2005]

Daniel Schneider

SUBJECT:

Corporate contributions; coordinated expenditures

DISPOSITION:

(a)        No reason to believe*

            [re: corporate contributions]

(b-g)    No reason to believe*

            [re: violated the Act]

(h)       Took no action*

            [re: corporate contributions]

(i-j)      Took no action*

           The complainants alleged that Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) violated the Act by operating a phone bank and gathering petitions in an effort to get Ralph Nader on the Oregon ballot. The complaint stated that CSE used corporate funds to pay for a phone bank urging individuals to attend the Nader rally. The Commission found no reason to believe against most of the respondents and decided to exercise prosecutorial discretion and take no action against the Oregon Family Council, Tim Nashif and Michael White.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5489 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

 

 

2.

MUR 5513

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Nader for President 2004, Carl M Mayer, treasurer

(b)   Norway Hill Associates, Inc.

(c)   David M. Carney

(d)  H. Lauren Carney

(e)   James McKay

(f)   Choices for America, LLC

COMPLAINANTS:

Kathleen N. Sullivan, Chair, New Hampshire Democratic Party

Daniel Schneider

SUBJECT:

Corporate contributions; excessive contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a-e)   Dismiss the matter.

           

(f)       No reason to believe*

           

          [re: violated the Act in connection with this matter]

          The complainants alleged that Norway Hill Associates, Inc. and Choices for America, LLC made corporate and/or excessive in-kind contributions in connection with their efforts to gather petition signatures to get Ralph Nader on the 2004 New Hampshire ballot. Mr. Carney responded that his firm (Norwich Hill Associates) was hired by individuals to conduct ballot access activities on behalf of Ralph Nader for President. The Nader Committee responded that it accepted the services of David Carney to circulate petitions, but assumed Carney was a volunteer using his own time to assist the campaign. The Nader Committee was unaware that David Carney had hired Norway Hill, and in fact when Norway Hill’s involvement came to light, the Nader Committee did what it could to remedy the situation. Choices for America’s response stated that they had no connection to David Carney or Norway Hill Associates. The Committee’s counsel and campaign manager contacted Carney, requested an accounting of Norway Hill’s expenses, and paid for the outstanding amount. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and decided to dismiss the matter against the Nader Committee, Norway Hill and the three individuals. The Commission, based on the information, found no reason to believe that Choices for America violated the Act. Statements of Reasons were issued by Chairman Thomas, Vice Chairman Toner and Commissioners McDonald, Mason, Toner and Weintraub.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5513 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

     

3.

MUR 5533

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Nader for President 2004, Carl M. Mayer, treasurer

(b)   Michigan Republican State Central Committee, Richard M. Gabrys, treasurer

(c)   Greg McNeilly, former Executive Director, Michigan Republican State Central Committee

COMPLAINANTS:

Mark Brewer

Daniel Schneider

SUBJECT:

Excessive contributions; failure to accurately report contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a-b)  Dismiss the matter.

(c)      No reason to believe*

          [re: violated the Act]

          The complainant alleged that the Michigan Republican State Central Committee (MRSCC) made unreported and excessive contributions to Nader for President 2004 when it collected signatures on ballot access petitions as well as allegedly paying legal expenses in the suit to require the state to accept the MRSCC ballot access petitions. MSRCC does not contest that the amounts spent for its petition gathering effort were expenditures, but stated that it paid for these costs from its Federal Account and reported them as such to the Commission. The party also stated that because the expenditures were not coordinated with the Nader Committee, the costs could not be contributions and were independent expenditures. The Nader committee said they took extraordinary steps to distance itself from the Republican signature gathering and undertook no measures to adopt any signatures gathered by Republican volunteers. The Nader Committee argues that it did not violate the Act because MRSCC’s activities appeared to have been voluntary and unpaid, and as such, would be exempt as contributions. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and decided to dismiss the matter against the MRSCC, its treasurer and Nader’s committee and its treasurer. The Commission found no reason to believe with regard to Greg McNeilly. Statements of Reasons were issued by Chairman Thomas, Vice Chairman Toner and Commissioners McDonald, Mason, Smith and Weintraub.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5533 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

 

*There are four administrative stages to the FEC enforcement process:

1. Receipt of proper complaint 3. "Probable cause" stage
2. "Reason to believe" stage 4. Conciliation stage

It requires the votes of at least four of the six Commissioners to take any action. The FEC can close a case at any point after reviewing a complaint. If a violation is found and conciliation cannot be reached, then the FEC can institute a civil court action against a respondent.

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