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For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Bob Biersack

December 17, 2007

George Smaragdis

Michelle Ryan

 

FEC Approves Candidate Travel Regulations and Explanation and Justification of Electioneering Communications Rule, Four Advisory Opinions

Washington – At its open meeting on December 14, the Federal Election Commission (FEC/ the Commission) approved an Explanation and Justification of final rules implementing the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL). Under the Commission’s final rules, adopted November 20, corporations and unions may pay for “electioneering communications” that qualify for the WRTL exemption, but must file disclosure reports and include disclaimers on the ads.  The Explanation and Justification includes examples illustrating types of communications that would or would not fall within the WRTL exemption. 

The Commission also approved final rules to implement a portion of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA) regulating the travel of federal candidates on non-commercial aircraft.  Under the rules approved by the Commission, Presidential, Vice-Presidential and Senate candidates, or anyone traveling on behalf of their campaign or leadership political action committee’s, must pay the pro-rata share of the “normal and usual charter fare or rental charge for travel on a comparable aircraft of comparable size” for each campaign traveler when using non-commercial, non-government-owned aircraft.   The same rate also applies to anyone traveling on behalf of a political party or non-candidate political committee.  House candidates or anyone traveling on their behalf are prohibited from using non-commercial aircraft for campaign travel.

The FEC also approved:

  • Advisory Opinion 2007-31, concluding that contributions to John Edwards for President that are processed through ActBlue may not be matched with public funds under the Presidential Public Funding program.  The Commission noted that earmarked contributions that ActBlue forwards to John Edwards for President by check drawn on ActBlue’s account fall squarely within a category of contributions that both the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act and Commission regulations specifically exclude from qualifying for matching funds.
  • Advisory Opinion 2007-27, concluding that ActBlue may not solicit, receive and forward contributions from the general public to corporate or union PACs.  However, ActBlue may solicit, receive and forward contributions from the restricted classes of corporations and unions to their separate segregated funds (SSFs, or PACs), subject to applicable contribution limits.
  • Advisory Opinion 2007-34, concluding that Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. (IL/2) may appear on a billboard endorsing a nonfederal candidate because the billboard would not be a coordinated communication under FEC regulations. 
  • A response in Advisory Opinion 2007-28, indicating that although the Commission was unable to reach a majority opinion with a single rationale, all Commissioners agreed that the proposal from Representatives Kevin McCarthy (CA/22) and Devin Nunes (CA/21) to solicit funds for ballot measure committees involved in the qualification and passage of a redistricting ballot initiative was permissible to the extent it was limited to solicitations of up to $20,000 from individuals.  Separate opinions from the Commissioners explaining the split-decision are forthcoming.

Finally, the Commission was unable to approve an Advisory Opinion by the required four-vote majority in response to a request from Holland & Knight, LLP regarding its status as a corporation or a partnership for the purpose of administering and financially supporting a PAC.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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