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Weekly Digests


For Immediate Release
Contact:
Judith Ingram
October 7, 2016   Christian Hilland
    Julia Queen
     
PDF
pdf version of this Weekly Digest   ISSUE 2016-41

Weekly Digest
Week of October 3 – 7


COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

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

ADVISORY OPINIONS

Drafts

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-13 (Martins for Congress II).  On October 3, the Commission made public a draft of Advisory Opinion Request 2016-13 (Martins for Congress II). The requestor asks whether, in light of a federal court’s cancelation of a primary election that the Commission concluded warranted a separate contribution limit, the requestor may continue to raise contributions subject to that separate limit to retire debts incurred in furtherance of the canceled primary. Public comments on the draft were due by 5 pm on October 6, 2016.

Advisory Opinion 2016-15 (Gary Johnson Victory Fund). On October 3, the Commission made public a draft of Advisory Opinion 2016-15. The requestor, a joint fundraising committee whose participants include a number of political committees whose status as state party committees is pending, asks whether it may solicit and accept contributions reflecting the party committee contribution limit for those committees, holding any contributions in excess of the contribution limit for nonconnected committees in escrow until the Commission determines whether the state committees are state party committees. Public comments on the draft were due by 5:00 pm on October 6, 2016.

Requests Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-16 (Gary Johnson 2012). On October 4, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-16 (Gary Johnson 2012). The requestor, a publicly funded candidate committee, asks several questions regarding the funds it may use to repay the U.S. Treasury and to pay civil penalties after audit findings by the Commission. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than October 14, 2016) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by December 5, 2016.

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-17 (Libertarian Party of Michigan Executive Committee, Inc.). On October 4, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-17 (Libertarian Party of Michigan Executive Committee, Inc.). The requestor asks whether it qualifies as a state party committee of the Libertarian National Party. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than October 14, 2016), and must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by November 28, 2016.

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-18 (Ohio Green Party). On October 4, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-18 (Ohio Green Party). The requestor asks whether it qualifies as a state party committee of the Libertarian National Party. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than October 14, 2016), and must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by December 2, 2016.

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-19 (Libertarian Party of Colorado). On October 5, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-19 (Libertarian Party of Colorado).  The requestor, a Libertarian political committee in Colorado, asks whether it qualifies as a state party committee of the Libertarian National Party. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than October 13, 2016) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by December 2, 2016.

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-20 (Mlinarchik). On October 5, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-20 (Mlinarchik). The requestor is the sole owner and member of a single-member LLC. The LLC is a federal contractor that is treated as a disregarded entity by the IRS for federal income tax purposes. The requestor asks whether he may make contributions using his personal funds. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than October 15, 2016) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by November 28, 2016.
 
Advisory Opinion Request 2016-21 (Great America PAC).  On October 7, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2016-21 (Great America PAC).  The requestor, a nonconnected hybrid political committee, asks several questions about the applicability of the former employee conduct standard of the Commission’s coordinated communications regulations.  The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following the publication of the request (no later than October 17, 2016) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by November 25, 2016.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public two closed cases and one Statement of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6996
COMPLAINANT: Meghan Conklin
RESPONDENTS: A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva Congressional Committee and Maya Castillo, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Amy Emerick-Clerkin; and Peter Clerkin
SUBJECT:  The complaint alleged that the Clerkins embezzled funds from the Committee. Grijalva is a 2016 candidate for Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe a violation occurred because there does not appear to be information to support the allegations or to conclude that the Committee committed any related reporting violations.

MUR 7043
COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENTS: Put Alaska First and Jim Lottsfeldt, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT:  In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe the Committee, an independent expenditure-only committee, failed to accurately disclose receipts in a 12-Day Pre-Primary Report.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $7,700.

MUR 6784 – Lizbeth Benacquisto; Lizbeth Benacquisto for Senate and Gary S. Splain, in his official capacity as treasurer (state committee); and Lizbeth Benacquisto for Congress and Nancy H. Watkins, in her official capacity as treasurer (federal committee). On October 5, Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Caroline C. Hunter and Lee E. Goodman issued a Statement of Reasons.

ADMINISTRATIVE FINES


The Commission made public two 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 3044 – International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 and Terrance E. McGowan, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $2,500.

AF 3062 – Foundation for a Greater America, Inc. and Anastasia Ault, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $6,187.

LITIGATION

Holmes, et al. v. FEC (Case 16-5194). On September 30, the Plaintiffs filed a Reply Brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

Van Hollen v. FEC (Case 15-5016). On October 4, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a Mandate.

OUTREACH

On October 2, Commissioner Ann M. Ravel was a special guest of Colombia's Electoral Organization during the plebiscite on the "Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace" in Colombia.

On October 5, Vice Chairman Steven T. Walther and Ellen L. Weintraub met with representatives from the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss the role and work of the Commission and the OAS.  

On October 7, Press Officer Judith Ingram and Senior Public Affairs Specialist Jason Bucelato led a training session on campaign finance data research on the FEC website for regional reporters at the National Press Club.

REPORTING

Revisions to Several FEC Forms and Instructions Released. On October 3, the Commission released revised versions of several reporting forms and instructions. The form changes are technical and cosmetic in nature, and are intended to assist with compliance, provide clearer disclosure, and make the agency's forms more consistent with one another. Committees should begin using the revised forms immediately. Copies can be downloaded from the FEC website at http://www.fec.gov/info/forms.shtml or ordered by calling, toll-free, 1-800/424-9530 (press 6) or sending an email to info@fec.gov. For more information on the changes, see this Record article.

PUBLIC DISCLOSURE

On October 3, the Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) made public its FY 2017 Work Plan and Review of Outstanding Recommendations as of August 2016.

PRESS RELEASES 

FEC Will Not Appeal District Court Decision in CREW v. FEC (issued October 4)

UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

October 18: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

October 25: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

October 27: 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.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

October 15:  October Quarterly Reports are due.  For more information on quarterly reporting dates, refer to the 2016 Quarterly Reporting page of the Commission website.

October 20: October Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2016 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

October 27:  Pre-General Reports are due.  For more information on reporting dates, refer to the 2016 Reporting  Dates page of the Commission website.
 
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

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

The 2016 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 October Record newsletter. Sign up to receive email notification when new Record articles are posted.

The 2016 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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