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Weekly Digest

 

For Immediate Release
December 18, 2009

Contact: Judith Ingram
Mary Brandenberger
Christian Hilland
Julia Queen

ISSUE 2009-32

Weekly Digest

Week of December 14 – 18

COMMISSION MEETINGS

On December 15, the Commission held an Executive Session. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here.

On December 17, the Commission held an Open Session. Agendas and related documents for Open Meetings are here. Audio recordings of meetings, hearings and presentations are here.

ADVISORY OPINIONS

Advisory Opinion Request 2009-28 (Democracy Engine Inc., PAC). On December 17, the Commission was unable to reach a decision in AOR 2009-28. In its request, Democracy Engine Inc., PAC asked whether it is permissible to solicit contributions from the general public that would be earmarked for federal candidates and to act as a conduit for these contributions. The request also asked whether the costs of such solicitations would be contributions to the candidates who received the contributions.

AOR 2009-27 (American Future Fund). On December 18, the Commission made public two drafts for Advisory Opinion Request 2009-27 (American Future Fund). On December 14, the Commission received an Extension of Time until January 15, 2010. The Committee requests an advisory opinion on whether the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act) preempts state laws restricting automated phone calls.

Advisory Opinions, Requests, Comments and Extensions are available here.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public three closed cases and six Statements of Reasons this week. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6113 – Kirby Hollingsworth; and Kirby Hollingsworth for State Representative. The Commission closed the case. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Caroline Hunter and Donald F. McGahn II. Another Statement of Reasons was issued by Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly and Ellen L. Weintraub.

MUR 6163 – Houghton County Democratic Committee. The Commission found no reason to believe in reference to one allegation and dismissed the other.

MUR 6170 – Tuscola County Democratic Committee. The Commission found no reason to believe in reference to one allegation and dismissed the other.

MUR 5724 – Jim Feldkamp for Congress and Patricia Siegmund, in her official capacity as treasurer; James L. Feldkamp; and Phyllis Feldkamp. The Commission closed the file. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Vice Chairman Petersen and Commissioner Hunter. Another Statement of Reasons was issued by Commissioners Bauerly and Weintraub.

MUR 5903 – PBS&J Corporation; William S. DeLoach; Richard A. Wickett; H. Michael Dye; Maria M. Garcia; Rosario Licata; Shannan Ighodaro; Sybil Thomas; Lourdes Fernandez; Reinaldo Fernandez; Ana Quinones; Victor Quinones; James Breland; Larry Boatman, in his official capacity as treasurer. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Vice Chairman Petersen and Commissioners Hunter and McGahn. Another Statement of Reasons was issued by Commissioners Bauerly and Weintraub.

LITIGATION

Keating v. FEC (consolidated with SpeechNow.org v. FEC). On December 15, the Commission filed its merits brief in this en banc case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Plaintiffs — including David Keating and, in the consolidated case, SpeechNow.org — have challenged the constitutionality of contribution limits, reporting requirements, and political committee registration requirements as applied to its proposed activities. Oral argument is scheduled for January 27, 2010.

Schonberg v. FEC. On December 14, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida denied the plaintiffs' emergency motion to withdraw the December 3 order that denied the plaintiffs' initial motion for emergency relief. Later on December 14, the plaintiffs filed a renewed emergency motion to withdraw the prior order, and the court denied that motion. The plaintiffs allege that portions of the Act that permit Members of Congress to lead campaign committees are unconstitutional because they violate the Emoluments Clause, which states that Members cannot hold other federal offices while in Congress.


RULEMAKING AND AGENCY PROCEDURES

On December 14, the Commission published a Statement of Policy regarding the placement of First General Counsel’s Reports on the Public Record in the Federal Register.

On December 16, the Commission held a public hearing on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the definition of Federal Election Activity, part of the implementation of the Appeals Court decision in Shays v. FEC (Shays III). The Commissioners reopened the administrative record until January 6, 2010, to allow the witnesses to provide written responses to specific questions that were posed at the hearing.

On December 17, the Commission approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to remove its rules regarding funds received in response to solicitations as well as two rules regarding the allocation of certain expenses by separate segregated funds and nonconnected committees. In EMILY’s List v. FEC, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ordered that these rules – 11 CFR 100.57, 106.6(c) and (f) – are be vacated, in accordance with a Court of Appeals decision. The Commission also approved an Interim Final Rule to give notice to the public that the court ordered these rules vacated.

On December 17, the Commission approved a Guidebook for Complainants and Respondents on the FEC Enforcement Process. The Guidebook summarizes the Commission's general enforcement policies and procedures and provides a step-by-step guide through the Commission's enforcement process.

On December 17, the Commission approved a Directive on Enforcement Procedures to provide status reports to respondents and the Commission in enforcement matters

ELECTION OF OFFICERS

On December 17, the Commission unanimously elected Matthew S. Petersen as Chairman and Cynthia L. Bauerly as Vice Chair for 2010.

PRESS RELEASES

FEC Hears Testimony on Definition of Federal Election Activity (issued December 16)

FEC Approves Steps to Comply with EMILY’s List Opinion, Elects 2010 Officers (issued December 17)

FEC Elects Petersen Chairman for 2010, Bauerly to Serve as Vice Chair (issued December 17)

UPCOMING EVENTS

January 20 – FEC Campaign Finance Law Roundtable Workshop. The schedule is here.

February 9-10, New Orleans, LA – Regional Conference for Campaigns, Party Committees and Corporate/Labor/Trade PACs. The schedule is here.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

December 20: Disclosure reports for monthly filers are due. Click here for information on electronic filing.

January 7: Massachusetts Special Senate Pre-General Reports due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

January 21: Florida 19th District Pre-Primary Reports due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

OTHER RESOURCES

The December issue of The Record is here. Sign up here to receive email notification when a new issue of the Record is posted. 

The December supplements to the FEC’s Campaign guides are here.