Week of November 14 – 18
On November 17, the Commission held an Open Meeting. Click here for agendas and related documents for open meetings. Click here for audio recordings for selected meetings, hearings and presentations.
Advisory Opinions Issued
AO 2011-19 (GivingSphere). On November 17, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2011-19. The Commission concluded that Social Financial, Inc., d/b/a GivingSphere, an Internet- and mobile-based processing platform, may: (1) transmit its customers’ rebates to political committees; (2) provide its customers with a searchable database of political committees; (3) provide its customers with additional information on political committees; (4) sell advertising space to political committees on its website; and (5) permit political committees to post a GivingSphere “badge” on their websites. The advisory opinion also concluded that GivingSphere’s activities as described in the advisory opinion request would not subject it to any reporting requirements under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended, or Commission regulations.
AOR 2011-23 (American Crossroads). The Commission received comments on Advisory Opinion Request 2011-23. In AOR 2011-23, American Crossroads, an independent expenditure-only political committee registered with the Commission, asks whether American Crossroads may produce and distribute certain television and radio advertisements. The request asks whether these ads would constitute coordinated communications under 11 CFR 109.21 or coordinated expenditures under 11 CFR 109.20.
Advisory Opinions and Requests are available through the Advisory Opinions search page in the Law and Regulations section of the Commission website.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Commission made public two campaign finance enforcement matters that were resolved through its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program.
ADR 565 – Minuteman Victory PAC and Stephen Eichler, in his official capacity as treasurer. The respondent agreed to (1) send a representative to an FEC conference, (2) implement compliance measures and (3) pay a civil penalty of $1,500.
ADR 569 – National Nurses United for Patient Protection and Carolyn Hietamaki, in her official capacity as treasurer. The respondent agreed to (1) implement compliance measures and (2) pay a civil penalty of $2,000.
For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
FEC v. Kazran (No. 3:10-cv-1155 (RBD-JRK)). On November 16, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida issued an order denying the Commission’s motion for partial summary judgment.
RULEMAKING AND AGENCY PROCEDURES
Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Disclaimers on Certain Internet Communications. On November 14, the Commission received comments on the draft Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Concerning Disclaimers on Certain Internet Communications. The Commission requests comments on whether and how it should modify or provide exceptions to its rules regarding disclaimers on Internet communications. In the event that the Commission adopts a final rule on this issue, the Commission does not anticipate that the final rule would become effective for the 2011-2012 election cycle, given the timeframe of the current cycle.
Final Rules and Explanation and Justification for Standards of Conduct. On November 14, the Commission published the Final Rules and Explanation and Justification for the Standards of Conduct in the Federal Register. This rule governs the conduct of Commissioners and Commission employees. The revised rules, which are being issued with the concurrence of the Office of Government Ethics (OGE), update the Commission’s regulations to reflect statutory changes enacted after the Standards of Conduct originally were promulgated, and to conform to regulations issued by OGE and the Office of Personnel Management. In addition, new rules supplementing OGE’s Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch address outside employment of Commissioners and FEC employees.
On November 16, the FEC hosted a Seminar for Nonconnected Committees.
FEC Approves Advisory Opinion (issued November 17)
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
November 20: November Monthly Reports were due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2011 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.
Printed copies of the August 2011 updated version of the Commission's Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees are now available free of charge from the Commission's Information Division. To order, call (800)424-9530 (press 6) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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