Week of April 17 – 21
COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS
On April 19 and 20, the Commission held an executive session.
On April 20, the Commission held an open meeting.
Advisory Opinion Request 2016-23 (Socialist Workers Party). On April 20, the Commission discussed three drafts in response to an advisory opinion request from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), but was unable to render an opinion by the required four affirmative votes. As a result, the request for the Commission to extend the partial reporting exemption provided in earlier advisory opinions to SWP was not approved. During the discussion, the Commission heard from representatives of and counsel for the requestor.
Advisory Opinion Request 2017-01 (American Urological Association). On April 17, the Commission made public a supplement to Advisory Opinion Request 2017-01 (American Urological Association). The requestor asks whether it is no longer affiliated with the American Association of Clinical Urologists.
The Commission made public three closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
MURs 6869R and 6942R
COMPLAINANT: Level the Playing Field; Peter Ackerman; Green Party of the United States; and Libertarian National Party, Inc.
RESPONDENTS: Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD); Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., Co-Chair, CPD; Dorothy S. Ridings, Co-Chair, CPD; Michael D. McCurry, Janet H. Brown; Howard G. Buffet; John C. Danforth; John Griffen; Antonia Hernandez; John I. Jenkins; Newton N. Minow; Richard D. Parsons; and Alan K. Simpson
SUBJECT: These matters came to the Commission on remand from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, following its decision in Level the Playing Field, et al. v. FEC (No. 1:15-cv-01397). In MURs 6869 and 6942, the Commission had determined that (1) there is no reason to believe CPD and its then co-chairs, Fahrenkopf and McCurry, made or accepted prohibited corporate contributions by failing to comply with the Commission’s regulations on debate sponsorship in hosting its 2012 presidential and vice presidential general elections debates and (2) there is no reason to believe CPD failed to register and report as a political committee. The District Court concluded that the Commission acted “arbitrarily and capriciously … by failing to address evidence or articulate its analysis” and ordered the Commission to issue a new decision consistent with its Opinion.
DISPOSITION: The Commission reconsidered the full scope of the available information and found no reason to believe CPD, Fahrenkopf and Ridings as co-chairs, and the 10 named staff and board members made prohibited contributions and expenditures or accepted prohibited contributions. The Commission also found no reason to believe CPD failed to register and report as a political committee. The Commission concluded that CPD qualifies as a staging organization that does not endorse, support or oppose political candidates or political parties and that CPD’s 15 percent threshold for candidate participation in a debate constitutes an objective criterion.
COMPLAINANT: Chris P. Smola
RESPONDENTS: UNITE HERE TIP Campaign Committee and Timothy Barnes, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); UNITE HERE Local 1 Political Action Committee (Local 1 PAC); and Chicago Signature Services, LLC (CSS)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that CSS made unauthorized payroll deductions from the complainant’s earnings for contributions to the Committee, and that the unauthorized deductions constituted a fraudulent solicitation of funds by the Committee.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that the Committee, Local 1 PAC, and CSS had violated the ban on soliciting a contribution to a separate segregated fund (SSF) without informing the employee of the political purpose of the SSF and the right to refuse to contribute to the SSF without reprisal. The Commission also found no reason to believe the respondents had fraudulently solicited funds.
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 3124 – Erin for Us and Jason Teramoto, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,157.
AF 3148 – Sanford Bishop for Congress and Evelyn Turner Pugh, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,787.
Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee. On April 20, the Commission approved a vote to direct Audit Division staff to withdraw the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee and to submit a revised version to incorporate recently submitted information received from the Committee. The previously circulated Audit Memorandum, covering financial activity between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012, disclosed findings and recommendations related to the misstatement of financial activity, reporting of apparent independent expenditures, recordkeeping for communications, and failure to itemize debts and obligations.
CREW v. FEC (Case 1:16-cv-02255-CRC). On April 14, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Melanie Sloan filed an Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
FEC v. O’Donnell (Case 15-cv-00017-LPS). On April 19, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order.
McChesney, et al. v. FEC (Case 17-1179). On April 19, the Appellants filed a Reply Brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
April 20: April Monthly Reports were due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.
District Court Issues Opinion in FEC v. O’Donnell (issued April 20)
FEC Considers Advisory Opinion Request and Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum (issued April 20)
Adav Noti, Associate General Counsel, is leaving the Commission to take a position as Director of Trial Litigation at the Campaign Legal Center. Noti joined the Commission in 2007 in its Litigation Division, where he served as an attorney from 2007 to 2011. In 2012, he was named Acting Assistant General Counsel in the Litigation Division, and served as Acting Associate General Counsel in the Policy Division from 2013 to 2016, before permanently assuming that role in 2016.
UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS
April 25: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.
April 27: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting and an executive session.
Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.
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UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
April 26: Trade Association Webinar. Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.
UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES
May 20: May Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.
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 April 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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