Week of January 30 – February 3
On February 2, the Commission held an Open Meeting. Click here for agendas and related documents for open meetings. Click here for audio recordings for selected meetings, hearings and presentations.
Advisory Opinions Issued
AO 2011-27 (New Mexico Voices for Children). On February 2, the Commission concluded that New Mexico Voices for Children’s proposed severance payment to its former Executive Director, who is currently a candidate for federal office, will not result in a prohibited corporate contribution to the candidate under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended, (the Act) or Commission regulations because the severance payment would be made irrespective of the individual’s candidacy for Congress.
AO 2011-28 (Western Representation PAC). On February 2, the Commission concluded that Western Representation PAC may not exclude the costs of independent expenditure advertisements placed on Facebook from the calculation of expenses included on its 24- and 48-hour reports. The Commission concluded further that Western Representation PAC must attribute the monthly cost of these independent expenditure advertisements to various states’ Presidential primary elections on Western Representation PAC’s regular monthly reports.
AO 2011-24 (StandLouder.com). On February 3, the Commission concluded that StandLouder.com may create an independent expenditure-only committee for the purpose of accepting advertisement content, receiving contributions, and funding independent expenditures. The Commission did not reach a consensus by four votes on a response to questions concerning 1) StandLouder.com’s political committee status, 2) the collective political committee status of StandLouder.com, the content creators, and the funders of the advertisements, and 3) the disclaimer and disclosure obligations that apply to the proposed advertisements. The LLC plans to establish a web application through the website StandLouder.com that will allow users to post and fund proposed advertisements. In its advisory opinion request, StandLouder.com indicates that it will receive a license from content creators to, among other services, facilitate funding, provide technical compliance, and determine the time and placement of the ads. StandLouder.com anticipates that the advertisements will relate to topics including political and social issues as well as candidates for federal office.
Advisory Opinions and Requests are available through the Advisory Opinions search page in the Law and Regulations section of the Commission website.
The Commission made public two closed cases.
For information regarding the above matters, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
Tisdale v. Obama, et al. (No. 12-cv-00036 (JAG)). On January 23, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued an order dismissing this case with prejudice, holding that the plaintiff had failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that the "natural born citizen" requirement in Article II of the Constitution requires both parents of a candidate for President to be U.S. citizens at the time of the candidate's birth. On January 24, the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal.
Vroom v. FEC (No. 12-cv-0143 (RMC)). On January 27, 2012, Peter Vroom filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiff asks the court to review the Commission’s decision to dismiss an administrative complaint plaintiff previously filed with the Commission.
Wagner v. FEC (No. 11-cv-1841 (JEB)). On January 31, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the portion of 2 U.S.C. 441c that bars contributions by individuals who have contracts with the federal government.
On February 2, Vice Chair Ellen L. Weintraub discussed agency operations, campaign finance regulations, and the Commission’s enforcement authority with government leaders and other representatives from Africa as part of the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.
FEC Approves Two Advisory Opinions, Discusses Third (issued February 2)
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
January 31: Year-end Reports were due. For more information on reporting dates, refer to the Reporting page of the Commission website.
The Commission will host a series of informal public forums on February 8, 15, and 29 to discuss agency operations in the areas of compliance, disclosure, enforcement and policy. For details including information on participation and how to submit written comments, please see Chair Caroline C. Hunter’s invitation.
February 22-23, Miami, Florida, Regional Conference for Campaigns, Party Committees and Corporate/Labor/Trade PACs. Registration information and schedule are on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.
For information regarding additional upcoming conferences and seminars, click here.
UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS
February 7: The Commission is scheduled to hold an Executive Session.
UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES
February 20: February Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2012 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.
The August 2011 updated version of the Commission's Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees is available online. Printed copies of the updated Guide are also available free of charge from the Commission's Information Division. To order, call (800)424-9530 (press 6) or send an email to [email protected].
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