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Weekly Digests


For Immediate Release

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Judith Ingram

February 15, 2013

Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland
   
 

ISSUE 2013-07

Weekly Digest

Week of February 11 – 15

COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

On February 14, 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

Extension of Time Requested and Granted

AOR 2012-38 (Socialist Workers Party).  On February 12, the Commission received an Extension of Time until April 30, 2013 on Advisory Opinion Request 2012-38. The Socialist Workers Party (SWP) is seeking a renewal of a partial exemption the Commission has granted in the past from certain reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended, (the Act) and Commission regulations. The exemption has allowed the SWP to avoid disclosure of the identities of contributors to the SWP and the identities of recipients of SWP disbursements. The SWP files reports with the Commission containing coded references for itemized contributors and recipients of disbursements, rather than names, addresses and other identifying information.

Advisory Opinions and Requests are available through the Advisory Opinions search page in the Law and Regulations section of the Commission website.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public three closed cases. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6368
COMPLAINANT: Missouri Democratic Party
RESPONDENT: Friends of Roy Blunt and Gordon Elliott, in his official capacity as treasurer; Senator Roy Blunt; and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) made a prohibited corporate in-kind contribution to Senator Roy Blunt, Friends of Roy Blunt and Elliott, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee) by coordinating with the Committee  in an advertisement criticizing a Blunt opponent. Blunt was a 2010 candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Chair Ellen L. Weintraub and Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly and Steven T. Walther.


MUR 6573
COMPLAINANT: Republican Party of New Mexico
RESPONDENT: Independent Source PAC and Michael Corwin, in his official capacity as treasurer; and Communications Workers of America
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Independent Source PAC (ISPAC), an independent expenditure-only political committee, failed to file complete 48-hour independent expenditure reports in a timely manner. The complaint alleged further that ISPAC failed to include complete disclaimers on the ads in question. Finally, the complaint alleged that ISPAC and the Communications Workers of America (CWA) conspired to evade New Mexico’s contribution limits.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe ISPAC failed to file complete and timely 48-hour notices because the ads in question did not expressly advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate and therefore entailed no requirement to disclose the costs of the ads as independent expenditures. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that ISPAC failed to provide complete ad disclaimers in light of the fact that the  communications at issue contained sufficient identifying information to prevent the public from being misled as to who authorized and paid for them. The Commission sent a letter reminding ISPAC of the requirements for disclaimers. The Commission found no reason to believe CWA violated the Act in connection with the alleged evasion of New Mexico’s contribution limits because the Commission has no jurisdiction over state contribution limits.

MUR 6611
COMPLAINANT: James R. Baum
RESPONDENT: Friends of Laura Ruderman and Abbot Taylor, in his official capacity as treasurer; Laura Ruderman; Progress for Washington and Jeremy Pemble, in his official capacity as treasurer; and Margaret Rothschild
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Progress for Washington, an independent expenditure-only political committee, (PFW) made and Friends of Laura Ruderman and (FLR) accepted impermissible in-kind contributions by coordinating in connection with advertisements criticizing one of Ruderman’s opponents. The complaint alleged further that PFW made unlawful, in-kind contributions to Ruderman and FLR using funds raised in unlimited amounts for the purpose of making independent expenditures. Ruderman was a 2012 candidate for Washington’s 1st Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Chair Ellen L. Weintraub and Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly and Steven T. Walther.

ADMINISTRATIVE FINES

The Commission made public nine campaign finance enforcement matters that were resolved through its Administrative Fines (AF) program.

AF 2540 – Dave Sitton for Congress and David Katsel, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $8,800.

AF 2542 – Dean Young for Congress Committee and Hugh Pardue, Jr., in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $330.

AF 2544 – Friends of Heather McTeer and Mercidees McTeer, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $330.

AF 2547 – Jimmie Moore for Congress, Gail A. Chinn-Pratt, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $250.

AF 2549 – Kenneth Sanders for Congress Campaign and Esque Sanders, Jr., in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $990.

AF 2557 – Sylvia Romo for Congress and Larry Benson, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $2,970.

AF 2558 – Tom Engel for Congress Committee and Richard Vaccariello, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $3,850.

AF 2559 – Trust Women PAC and Amber Lockner, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $550.

AF 2561 – Wieland 2012 and Robert Merkle, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination to take no further action.

For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

AUDITS

Proposed Final Audit Report on McCain-Palin 2008 Inc. and McCain-Palin Compliance Fund, Inc. On February 14, the Commission approved the Proposed Final Audit Report on McCain-Palin 2008 Inc. and McCain-Palin Compliance Fund, Inc., covering campaign finance activity between March 24, 2008 and December 31, 2008. The Commission did not find any material non-compliance in connection with the McCain-Palin Joint Fundraising Committees. The Commission approved a finding relating to the Compliance Fund’s failure to file 48-hour notices for contributions. The report also addressed an additional issue related to campaign travel billing for press in connection with McCain-Palin 2008 Inc. A Statement of Reasons was released by Chair Ellen L. Weintraub and Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly and Steven T. Walther.

Proposed Final Audit Report on the Maine Republican Party. On February 14, the Commission approved the Proposed Final Audit Report on the Maine Republican Party (MRP), covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. The Commission approved findings relating to the misstatement of financial activity, reporting of debts and obligations, disclosure of disbursements and the failure to file notices and properly disclose independent expenditures. The report also addressed an additional issue related to the disclosure of disbursements from MRP’s non-federal account.

Proposed Final Audit Report on Rightmarch.com PAC, Inc. On February 14, the Commission approved the Proposed Final Audit Report on Rightmarch.com PAC, Inc., covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2007 and December 31, 2008. The Commission approved a finding related to the misstatement of financial activity. The report also addressed additional issues related to the extension of credit by a commercial vendor and reporting payments for communications.

LITIGATION

Free Speech v. FEC (Case 12-8078). On February 11, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 in Support of the Commission filed an Amici Curiae Brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Libertarian National Committee, Inc. (LNC) v. Federal Election Commission (No. 1:11-cv-00562-RLW). Oral argument on the plaintiff's motion to certify facts and questions and the Commission's motion for summary judgment is scheduled for February 25 in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Tea Party Leadership Fund, et al. v. FEC (Case 1:12-cv-1707-RWR) On February 11, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the United States District Court in the District of Columbia.

RULEMAKING AND AGENCY OPERATIONS

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Limited Liability Partnerships. This week the Commission received comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning the treatment of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) for purposes of the Act and Commission regulations. The Commission is considering treating all LLPs that have opted for federal corporate tax treatment pursuant to the Internal Revenue Service's "check the box" provisions as corporations.

OUTREACH

On February 11, Communications Specialists Dorothy Yeager and Kathy Carothers provided campaign finance training to members of the American League of Lobbyists.

PRESS RELEASES

FEC Approves Three Final Audit Reports (issued February 14)

UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

March 20, Federal Election Commission, Washington, DC. “Seminar/Webinar for House and Senate Campaigns and Party Committees” Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

February 20: February Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2013 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

OTHER RESOURCES

The Official 2012 Presidential General Election Results are available in the Library section of the website. This listing was compiled from the official election results published by state election offices.

The 2012 edition of the Combined Federal State Disclosure and Election Directory is available in the Public Records section of the Commission website. This publication identifies the federal and state agencies responsible for the disclosure of campaign finances, lobbying, personal finances, public financing, candidates on the ballot, election results, spending on state initiatives and other financial filings.

An index to the Record news articles published in 2012 is available on the Commission website. The Record news page is available in the Publications section of the Commission website. Sign up to receive email notification when new articles are posted.

The FEC Annual Reports from 1975-2006 are now available on the website. Beginning in 2007, the Commission consolidated its Annual Report with its Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) to provide a single account of the agency's activities for each fiscal year.

Printed copies of the 2012 edition of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations are now available and can be downloaded from the website. To order, call (800)424-9530 (press 6) or send an email to info@fec.gov.

Instructional videos are available on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/FECTube?feature=watch.  These videos are also available on the Commission's E-Learning resources page at http://www.fec.gov/info/elearning.shtml.



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