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For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact: Bob Biersack
August 7, 2007                                                                                                         George Smaragdis
                                                                                                                              Michelle Ryan

FEC COLLECTS OVER $2 MILLION IN CIVIL PENALTIES IN FIRST HALF OF 2007

WASHINGTON - The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) reported today that it collected civil penalties totaling $2,257,642 during the first six months of 2007.  This is the second largest total collected by the Commission in the first six months of any year in its history.  During this period, the Commission collected a $750,000 penalty from the Progress for America Voter Fund, the third largest penalty in the Commission’s history, and closed six other cases with civil penalties totaling $100,000 or more.

Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard noted that “the FEC continues to enforce the federal campaign finance law vigorously, collecting substantial civil penalties from campaign finance law violators.”

Alternative Dispute Resolution and Administrative Fines

  • Included in the Commission’s total figure are 56 cases, generating $55,400 in civil penalties, settled under the innovative Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program.  The ADR process is designed to promote compliance with federal campaign finance law and reduce the cost of processing complaints by encouraging settlements outside the agency's normal enforcement track. For a case to be considered for ADR, a respondent must agree to set aside the statute of limitations while the case is being resolved and participate in mediation, if necessary.

  • The FEC imposed administrative fines totaling $253,814 in 175 cases where committees filed financial reports after the deadline or failed to make required financial filings.

Audits

The FEC issued sixteen audit reports during the first half of 2007, including  final reports on the 2004 Bush/Cheney and Kerry/Edwards general election campaigns, and the 2004 primary campaigns of Richard Gephardt and Wesley Clark.

Commission Policy

  • The Commission is pursuing an ambitious rulemaking schedule this year.  In the first half of 2007, the Commission solicited public comments on proposed rules for jointly-financed party/candidate “hybrid” ads and an elaboration of the definition of “federal election activity” in the context of nonfederal elections. The Commission also released a notice of proposed rulemaking on the proper uses of campaign funds. 

  • The FEC issued 12 Advisory Opinions during the first six months of 2007.

Public Disclosure

The FEC introduced two new online tools to simplify and enhance public access to Presidential campaign finance information:

  • An interactive map on the FEC website (http://www.fec.gov) displays and aggregates individual contributions to the 2008 Presidential campaigns based on the contributors’ residences. The map provides total contribution amounts to each candidate, the candidate’s cash on hand and contributions by state.  The names of individual contributors and the amounts of their contributions can be accessed and grouped within three digit area codes.

  • The FEC’s website also provides an immediate display and summary of specific Presidential campaign finance reports.  Without having to download a disclosure report, users may view totals for individual donations to Presidential campaigns based on contributorss states, employer names, zip codes and elections (primary vs. general).   Expenditure totals  may also be accessed by name of payees and the descriptions of the expenditures.

Educational Outreach

As part of its continuing outreach program, the FEC conducted three information conferences and two state workshops to assist candidate campaigns and political committees in complying with federal campaign finance laws.  These conferences provided attendees the opportunity to meet with FEC Commissioners and senior staff members to discuss the specifics of campaign finance regulations and enforcement issues. 

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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