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For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact: Bob Biersack
April 20, 2007                                                                                                         George Smaragdis
                                                                                                                              Michelle Ryan

FEC Fines Colorado Democratic Party $105,000

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) recently reached a conciliation agreement with the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP/ the Committee).  This action stemmed from an audit of the party undertaken by the FEC following the 2002 election cycle.  The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty of $105,000.

The Commission found reason to believe that the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP/ the Committee) violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act).   In 2001 and 2002, CDP misreported financial activity by a total of $2,049,010.  In 2001, the Committee overstated its beginning cash on hand by $279,988, understated net receipts by $119,348, understated net disbursements by $20,764 and overstated closing cash on hand by $181,404.  In 2002, the Committee overstated its beginning cash on hand by $238,622, understated net receipts by $980,580, understated net disbursements by $928,318, and overstated closing cash on hand by $186,360.  The Committee also violated the Act by accepting a $10,000 prohibited contribution and overpaying $8,888 from its non-federal account for shared Federal and non-federal allocable expenses. The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty and transfer $8,888 from its Federal account to its non-federal account.

The final audit report for this committee is available on the Internet at http://www.fec.gov/audits/2002/20050907colorado_dem_prty.pdf

This release contains only disposition information.

1.

Matter  Under Review (MUR) 5702

RESPONDENTS:

Colorado Democratic Party and Mark Ferrandino, in his official capacity as treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

FEC Initiated (Audit Division)

SUBJECT:

Misreporting of financial activity;

Acceptance of a prohibited contribution; and

Use of non-federal funds for Federal activity.

DISPOSITION:

Conciliation agreement: $105,000 civil penalty*

In September of 2005, the FEC approved the final audit on the Colorado Democratic Party.  The audit showed that the Colorado Democratic Party misstated receipts, disbursements, and cash-on-hand balances on disclosure reports filed with the Commission in 2001 and 2002.  The Committee also received a $10,000 prohibited contribution from non-federal account of the Democratic Network PAC.  Additionally, the Committee’s non-federal account paid more than its share of allocable expenses for media expenditures.

The Commission found reason to believe that the respondents violated the Act.  The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty of $105,000, transfer $8,888 from its Federal to non-federal account to offset previous payments for shared expenses and amended its reports.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5702 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, DC.

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

1. Receipt of proper complaint

2. “Reason to believe” stage

3. “Probable cause” stage

4. Conciliation stage

FEC decisions require the votes of at least four of its six Commissioners.
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 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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