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For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Judith Ingram

January 20, 2011

Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland
  Mary Brandenberger

FEC VOTES ON TWO DRAFTS OF AN NPRM ON INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES AND ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS, APPROVES FINAL AUDIT REPORT

WASHINGTON – At its first open meeting of the year, the Federal Election Commission today voted on two drafts of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The Commission also approved the final audit report of a state party committee.

The Commission was unable to approve either of the two NPRM drafts on Independent Expenditures and Electioneering Communications by Corporations and Labor Organizations. The NPRM, if approved, would seek public comment on changes to the FEC’s rules regarding corporate and labor organization funding and reporting of expenditures, independent expenditures and electioneering communications. The two drafts addressed the following issues:

  • Draft A addressed: 1) eliminating regulations that prohibit the use of corporate and labor organization general treasury funds to finance expenditures, independent expenditures and electioneering communications; 2) eliminating a regulation that permits corporations and labor organizations to make only electioneering communications that are not the functional equivalent of express advocacy; 3) eliminating prohibitive regulations regarding express advocacy in communications to the general public and revising the standards for voter registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drives; 4) revising the Commission’s corporate facilitation rules and related conduit rule; 5) revising certain reporting requirements pertaining to independent expenditures and electioneering communications in order to provide comprehensive disclosure of such spending; and 6) revising the regulations governing financial participation by foreign nationals in the U.S. electoral process.
  • Draft B addressed: 1) eliminating regulations that prohibit the use of corporate and labor organization general treasury funds to finance expenditures, independent expenditures and electioneering communications; 2) eliminating a regulation that permits corporations and labor organizations to make only electioneering communications that are not the functional equivalent of express advocacy; 3) eliminating prohibitive regulations regarding express advocacy in communications to the general public and revising the standards for voter registration and get-out-the-vote (GOTV) drives; and 4) revising the Commission’s corporate facilitation rules.

"I remain hopeful that the Commission will be able to reach consensus on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing corporate and labor union expenditures so that stakeholders and the general public have an opportunity to have their voices heard by the Commission,” said Commission Chair Cynthia L. Bauerly. “Today we saw that there continues to be disagreement between the members of the Commission over the proper scope of the proposed rulemaking. Nonetheless, I felt the discussion was positive and necessary towards finding common ground on this topic. "

The Commission also approved a final audit report for the Tennessee Republican Party, covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2005 and December 31, 2006. The Commission found that the committee (a) misreported its receipts, disbursements, and cash on hand amounts, (b) received contributions from unregistered political organizations, which may have been made with impermissible funds, and (c) failed to properly document salary and wage expenditures. The report also addressed an additional issue related to potential excessive coordinated party expenditures made in 2006 by the committee, noting that the Commission did not approve a staff recommendation by the required four votes.

 

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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