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Weekly Digests


For Immediate Release
Contact:
Judith Ingram
March 3, 2017   Christian Hilland
    Julia Queen
     
PDF
pdf version of this Weekly Digest   ISSUE 2017-09

Weekly Digest
Week of February 27 – March 3


COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

No Commission open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

ENFORCEMENT
 
The Commission made public five closed cases and three Statements of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6846
COMPLAINANT: Dr. Art Robinson
RESPONDENTS: DeFazio for Congress and Jef A. Green, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee placed no disclaimers or deliberately unreadable disclaimers on billboards and placed a disclaimer on a website in such a way that most would likely not notice it. The complaint alleged further that the billboards falsely portrayed the complainant and damaged him and that the Committee designed the billboards and website to intentionally deceive the public into believing they belonged to the complainant. DeFazio and Robinson were 2010 and 2012 candidates for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the Committee violated the disclaimer provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), with respect to the website because the website met the disclaimer requirements. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the allegations with respect to the disclaimer on the billboards, in consideration of Commission priorities and resources, and sent a letter of caution to the Committee, reminding it of the requirements for disclaimers. Finally, the Commission found no reason to believe that the Committee fraudulently misrepresented the billboards and website as Robinson advertisements.

MUR 6885
COMPLAINANT: Carson Dee Adcock
RESPONDENTS: Citizens for Boyle and Lindsay Angerholzer, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP (the LLP)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee accepted an excessive contribution from the LLP and that it improperly applied the excessive portion to a future election rather than refunding it. Brendan Boyle was a 2014 and 2016 candidate for Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe a violation occurred because the Act and Commission regulations allow for the designation of a contribution for “a particular election” and in this case the Committee followed the contributor’s instructions on the designation of funds.

MUR 6957
COMPLAINANT: Julian Dmitri Burger
RESPONDENTS: Isadore Hall III; Inspiration and Hope (IH) for California Ballot Measure Committee Controlled by Senator Isadore Hall and David Gould, in his official capacity as treasurer (Ballot Measure Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged the Ballot Measure Committee, a California political committee Hall controlled, accepted an illegal $4,100 corporate contribution soon after Hall became a 2016 candidate for California’s 44th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission agreed to enter into a conciliation agreement providing for Hall and the Ballot Measure Committee to pay a $1,500 civil penalty.

MUR 7016
COMPLAINANT: Diane Yvonne Smoyer
RESPONDENTS: Bruce Shuttleworth for Congress and Bruce Shuttleworth, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Bruce Shuttleworth
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee failed to refund a $2,600 contribution requested by the complainant and that the candidate was using campaign funds including that contribution to obtain a “favorable financial outcome” in a civil matter with the complainant. Shuttleworth was a 2014 candidate for Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities and resources. The Commission observed that the available information did not indicate that the candidate either converted campaign funds to personal use or used campaign funds to benefit his financial position in his civil proceedings.

MUR 7037
COMPLAINANT: Brad Woodhouse, American Democracy Legal Fund
RESPONDENTS: Donald J. Trump for President and Timothy Jost, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Donald J. Trump
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee failed to include a proper disclaimer at the end of an advertisement. Trump was a 2016 candidate for United States President.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities and resources. The Commission observed that the violation was technical and that the Committee took swift remedial action.

MUR 6625 – Steve Stockman; and Friends of Congressman Steve Stockman and Tyler Posey, in his official capacity as treasurer.  On February 28, Vice Chair Caroline C. Hunter and Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 6666 – Joel C. Tyner; and Joel for Congress and Joel C. Tyner, in his official capacity as treasurer.  On February 28, Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioner Petersen issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 6958 – Claire McCaskill; McCaskill for Missouri and Michelle Sherod, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); W. Todd Akin; Akin for Senate and W. Todd Akin, in his official capacity as treasurer (Akin Committee). On February 28, Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioners Petersen and Lee E. Goodman issued a Statement of Reasons.

ADMINISTRATIVE FINES

The Commission made public 20 campaign finance enforcement matters that were resolved through its Administrative Fines (AF) program, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

AF 3117 – Americans Socially United and Cary L. Peterson, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed no civil penalty.

AF 3119 – Citizens Super PAC for America (CSPAC) and Siddiq Mumin, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $144.

AF 3120 – Claitor for Congress and Chelsea Bonnecaze, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $12,302.

AF 3121 – Committee to Elect JD Winteregg and Joseph Winteregg, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $643.

AF 3122 –Cowan for Congress, Inc. and Leigh Ann Gillis, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $10,935.

AF 3123 – Distilled Spirits Council of the United States Inc. Political Action Committee and Mark Gorman, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $611.

AF 3126 – Espaillat for Congress and Rafael Lantigua, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $208.

AF 3127 – Espaillat for Congress 2016 and Raysa Castillo, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $8,602.

AF 3129 – International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 1291 Political Action Committee and Martin Mascuilli, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $302.

AF 3132 – National PAC Inc. A/K/A NATPAC and Deborah Ann Capocci, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $386.

AF 3133 – Phoenix Fire Fighters, Local 493, FIRE PAC Committee and Bryan Willingham, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,028.

AF 3134 – Swing States for a Conservative White House PAC Inc and the Office of Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,157.

AF 3135 – The Candidate Billy Davis Inc. and Billy Davis, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $643.

AF 3136 –Tom Carter for Congress and Thomas Carter, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed no civil penalty.

AF 3137 – Whitwell for Congress and the Office of Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed no civil penalty.

AF 3138 – William Llop CPA for Congress and William Llop, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $2,017.

AF 3139 – Yungman Lee for Congress and Guang Quan Wu, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $2,191.

AF 3143 – Concerned American Voters and Edward King, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $152.

AF 3150 – Magellan Health, Inc. Employee Committee for Good Government and Robin M. Copeland, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $118.

AF 3152 – Value in Electing Women Political Action Committee and Meredith Lesher, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed no civil penalty.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION

The Commission made public two campaign finance enforcement matters that were resolved through its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

ADR 808
COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENTS: Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Legislative Improvement Committee United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America and Randy Thornhill, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The Committee allegedly accepted prohibited contributions.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to develop and certify implementation of a compliance operations manual that includes internal controls consistent with those described in the Commission’s Internal Controls and Political Committees advisory document and the Best Practices for Committee Management, certify that a representative of the Committee participated in an FEC conference, webinar, or other program developed in consultation with the FEC’s Information Division, and pay a civil penalty of $2,500.

ADR 817
COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENTS: Frank Volpe for Congress and Frank Pasquale Volpe, Jr., in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The Committee allegedly used campaign finance report information to solicit contributions.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed and closed the file.

LITIGATION

Independence Institute v. FEC (Case 1:14-cv-01500-CKK-PAM-APM). On February 27, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the three-judge court opinion of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

McChesney, et al. v. FEC (Case 17-1179). On March 1, the Brief of Appellants Robert C. McChesney and Bart McLeay for U.S. Senate, Inc. was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.  On March 2, Appellee United States of America filed a Motion to Dismiss and Excuse from Appellate Proceedings .

OUTREACH

Communications Specialist Isaac Baker discussed the role and work of the Commission with a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina. The group was visiting the United States as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

On March 1, the Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) made public its Results of the Audit Peer Review of the Federal Election Commission OIG.

PRESS RELEASES

Supreme Court Affirms Three-Judge District Court Opinion in Independence Institute v. FEC (issued February 27)

Ann Ravel Departs Federal Election Commission (issued February 28)

FEC Inspector General Lynne McFarland Retires (issued March 2)

UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

March 7:  The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

March 9: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.

JOIN THE FEC ON TWITTER AND YOUTUBE IN 2017

Follow @FEC on Twitter to receive the latest information on agency updates, news releases, and weekly activity. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, FECTube: FECConnect on Demand, to watch instructional videos that have been designed to help candidates and committees comply with federal campaign finance laws. Note that the FEC is not currently available through other social media platforms at this time. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other mediums has not been authorized by the FEC.

UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

March 29: Member/Labor Organization Webinar. Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

March 20: March Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

April 15: April Quarterly Reports are due. For information on quarterly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Quarterly Reporting page of the Commission website.

April 20: April Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

The Commission has posted the filing deadlines for Special Elections in South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District. For information on reporting dates for this election, refer to the Special Election Report Notice.

DISCLOSURE INITIATIVES

Commission staff, together with our partners at 18F, continue to add new features to the agency's beta.fec.gov website. The Commission encourages website visitors to submit comments and questions by clicking on the “Feedback” tab at the bottom of each page.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH MATERIALS

The Official 2016 Presidential General Election Results are available in the Library section of the website. This listing was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices.

Additional research materials about the agency, campaign finance information, and election results are available through the Library section of the Commission website.

The latest 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.

The Commission has published the March Record newsletter. Sign up to receive email notification when new Record articles are posted.

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

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