FEC Approves Advisory Opinion and Modifies Program for Requesting Consideration of Legal Questions
WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved an advisory opinion and modifications to a program for requesting consideration of legal questions. The Commission also discussed and held over a second advisory opinion request and draft technical amendments to Commission regulations. The Commission held over a proposed statement of policy on disclosure of closed enforcement files. Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub announced that she will host an upcoming forum on corporations and foreign money.
Advisory Opinion 2016-01 (Ethiq). The Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from Ethiq. The Commission concluded that because Ethiq is a press entity, is not owned or controlled by any candidate, political party, or political committee, and will be engaged in its legitimate press function in providing news content to its users, the costs Ethiq incurs in covering or carrying news stories, commentary, and editorials as described in the request will not constitute “expenditures” or “contributions” under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations. During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor and requestor’s counsel.
Advisory Opinion Request 2016-02 (Enable Midstream Services, LLC). The Commission discussed a draft advisory opinion in response to a request from Enable Midstream Services, LLC (Enable), but held over a vote on the matter until the next open meeting, scheduled for April 28, 2016. Enable owns, operates, and develops midstream natural gas and crude oil infrastructure assets. Enable was formed as part of a joint venture between two publicly traded companies, CenterPoint and OGE Energy, and private investors. Enable intends to create a separate, segregated fund (SSF) and asks whether this SSF will be affiliated with the separate segregated funds of either CenterPoint Energy, Inc. or OGE Energy Corporation, or both. During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor and requestor’s counsel.
Draft Final Rule and Explanation and Justification for Technical Amendments to 2015 CFR.
The Commission discussed and held over the approval of technical corrections to various sections of its regulations.
Proposed Modifications to Program for Requesting Consideration of Legal Questions by the Commission. The Commission approved a memorandum recommending two modifications of the Program for Requesting Consideration of Legal Questions by the Commission: clarifying that requests must be submitted to the Commission Secretary and including up to five additional business days to allow for informal resolution of underlying issues in requests.
Proposed Statement of Policy Regarding the Public Disclosure of Closed Enforcement Documents. The Commission held over the discussion until its next open meeting of a proposed statement of policy that would expand the range of records to be made publicly available on a regular basis.
Rulemaking Proposals. The Commission discussed a Motion to Open a Rulemaking to Assist Those Accepting Corporate Contributions or Making Corporate Expenditures in Complying with Existing Campaign Finance Law and a Motion Regarding Foreign National Rulemaking. Commissioner Weintraub announced that she will host a forum of experts, tentatively scheduled for June 23 at the Commission's headquarters, to discuss corporations and foreign money.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
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