WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved an advisory opinion regarding the creation of a separate segregated fund (SSF) and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding independent expenditures, discussed a second NPRM and elected a Chair and Vice Chair for 2012.
Advisory Opinion 2011-22 (Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative, Inc.). The advisory opinion concluded that the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative (VPGC), as a membership organization with incorporated and unincorporated members, may establish an SSF, solicit contributions to the SSF from its unincorporated members and deduct those contributions from settlement payments VPGC owes to these members. The advisory opinion further concluded that VPGC and its SSF may not solicit contributions to the SSF from the executive and administrative personnel of VPGC’s incorporated members.
Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications by Corporations and Labor Organizations. The Commission approved an NPRM concerning independent expenditures and electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations. This NPRM seeks public comment on proposed changes to the Commission’s rules regarding corporate and labor organization funding of expenditures, independent expenditures and electioneering communications in response to a Petition for Rulemaking filed by the James Madison Center for Free Speech, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Comments from the public on this NPRM are due on or before February 3, 2012. Reply comments are due on or before February 17, 2012. A hearing is scheduled for March 7, 2012.
Independent Expenditures by Persons Other Than Political Committees. The Commission considered but did not approve an NPRM concerning independent expenditure reporting by persons other than political committees. The draft NPRM proposed amendments to Commission regulations relating to disclosure of contributions made to persons, including corporations and labor organizations, that make independent expenditures in response to a Petition for Rulemaking filed by Representative Chris Van Hollen, in light of the Citizens United decision.
A Statement regarding both NPRMs was issued by Chair Cynthia L. Bauerly and Commissioner Steven T. Walther.
FEC Elects Hunter as Chair for 2012; Weintraub to Serve as Vice Chair. The Commission elected Caroline C. Hunter as Chair and Ellen L. Weintraub as Vice Chair for 2012. Commissioner Hunter has served on the Commission since 2008, following her nomination by former President George W. Bush and unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate. Commissioner Weintraub has served on the Commission since December 2002, when she received a recess appointment. She was renominated and confirmed unanimously by the Senate in March 2003.
The Commission also approved a schedule of meeting dates for 2012.