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News Releases


For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact:   George Smaragdis
March 13, 2007                                                                                                          Michelle Ryan


WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission (the Commission) recently completed action on a matter previously under review (MUR). 

Following an investigation in MUR 5546, the Commission determined that there was no credible evidence that the Progress for America Voter Fund (PFA-VF) made excessive in-kind contributions to Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc. or the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the form of coordinated expenditures.  

This release contains only disposition information.


MUR 5546


(a) Progress for America Voter Fund

(b) Brian McCabe

(c) Mary Anne Carter

(d) Ralph R. Brown

(e) Progress for America, Inc.

(f) The Leadership Forum

(g) Susan B. Hirschman,

(h) L. William Paxon

(i) Barbara Bonfiglio

(j) George W. Bush

(k) Richard B. Cheney

(l) Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc., Dave Herndon, treasurer

(m) Republican National Committee, Mike Retzer, treasurer


Steven C. Russo


Prohibited in-kind contributions in the form of coordinated expenditures.


(a) Reason to believe*

(f-i) No reason to believe

(b-e,j-m) Took no action

The complaint alleged that PFA-VF, an unincorporated entity organized under Section 527 of the Internal revenue Code, made coordinated expenditures in support of President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign that constituted illegal in-kind contributions to Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc. and the RNC.  Specifically, the complaint stated that PFA-VF may have coordinated its expenditures by utilizing the services of Tom Synhorst, a direct mail and phone banking specialist.  Mr. Synhorst was a strategic adviser to PFA-VF and was also partner in a firm (Feather, Larson & Synhorst) that had contracts with both Bush-Cheney and the RNC.  PFA-VF challenged the sufficiency of the allegations and denied any coordinated activity with Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc.  The Commission’s investigation revealed no credible evidence of coordination between PFA-VF and Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc. or the RNC.  No further action was taken by the Commission and the file was closed.


Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at by entering 5546 under case numbers 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.                                                      

**The Enforcement Priority System (EPS) rates all incoming cases against objective criteria to determine whether they warrant use of the Commission’s limited resources.