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News Releases


For Immediate Release


Michelle Ryan

August 21 ,2008

Mary Brandenberger


FEC Approves Four Advisory Opinions and Grants Request to Withdraw from Public Funding Program

Washington – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC/ the Commission) considered four advisory opinions and approved Senator John McCain’s request to withdraw from the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Program.

In Advisory Opinion (AO) 2008-04, the Commission concluded that Chris Dodd for President, Inc., the Presidential campaign committee of Senator Christopher Dodd (CT), may issue refunds or obtain redesignations and transfer contributions received for the general election into Friends of Chris Dodd, Senator Dodd’s Senate campaign committee, for up to six days following its receipt of the advisory opinion.  The Presidential committee had applied for and received public funding for the primary election under the Matching Payment Act and accepted private contributions for the general election.  The Commission further concluded that the costs of refunding contributions and obtaining redesignations are "winding down costs" and may therefore be paid for with primary election funds.

In AO 2008-06, the Commission concluded that costs incurred by the Democratic Party of Virginia to prepare and distribute its proposed slate cards are not considered contributions or expenditures.  Publications distributed by employees of the committee satisfy the “slate card exemption,” provided the content of the publications is consistent with the nature of that exemption.  Publications distributed by volunteers can satisfy the “volunteer activity exemption.”

In AO 2008-07, the FEC determined that the principal campaign committee for Senator David Vitter (LA) may use campaign funds to pay some legal fees and expenses rendered in connection with a legal proceeding against a third party.  The Commission concluded that legal fees and expenses incurred in consultation with Senate Ethics Counsel and in responding to press inquiries and news stories would not have existed irrespective of the Senator's campaign or duties as a Federal officeholder and could be paid with campaign funds.  The Commission could not reach a conclusion regarding the use of campaign funds for quashing subpoenas or monitoring the criminal proceeding.

In AO 2008-09, the FEC determined that post-election repayments of personal loans made by Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) to his principal campaign committee, Lautenberg for Senate, are restricted by federal campaign finance laws.  The Commission determined that loan repayment provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) that limit an authorized committee’s repayment of personal candidate loans under certain circumstances are severable from the Millionaires’ Amendment provisions that were recently struck down by the Supreme Court.  Additional information regarding Davis v. FEC is available online at

In addition to the advisory opinions approved during the meeting, the Commission addressed the ability of Senator McCain to withdraw from the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Program.  The Commission unanimously voted in favor of withdrawal.

Documents from this and other FEC open meetings are available online at:

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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