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For Immediate Release
February 23, 2004
Contact: George Smaragdis
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
Kelly Huff

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission has recently made public its final action on one matter previously under review (MURs). This release contains only disposition information.

1. MUR 5198  
  RESPONDENTS: (a) Honorable Maria Cantwell

(b) Cantwell 2006, Keith Grinstein, treasurer

(c) U.S. Bank National Association

  COMPLAINANTS: National Legal and Policy Center, Kenneth F. Boehm, Chairman
  SUBJECT: Corporate contributions in the form of improper bank loans; failure to properly disclose bank loans
  DISPOSITION: (a-c) No reason to believe [re: corporate contributions in the form of improper bank loans]

(b) Reason to believe, sent admonishment letter [re: reporting bank loans]

The complaint alleged that U.S. Bank violated the Act by making two improper loans, a $600,000 line of credit and a $4,000,000 line of credit, to Maria Cantwell 2000 Senate campaign. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the $600,000 line of credit was not secured with sufficient collateral and that both the $600,000 and $4,000,000 lines of credit were obtained at a preferential interest rate. However, the evidence showed that the $600,000 line of credit was made on a basis that assures repayment and that each loan bore the usual and customary interest rate.

The Cantwell committee failed to timely report complete loan information by omitting Schedule C-1 from their original reports. In light of the no reason to believe findings regarding the corporate contributions, the apparent inadvertent nature of the omissions and the prompt corrective action taken before the initiation of the enforcement action, an admonishment letter was sent.

  DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD: Documents from this matter are available from the Commissionís web site at fec.gov by entering 5198 under case number. They are also available in the FECs Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.


*There are four administrative stages to the FEC enforcement process:

1. Receipt of proper complaint 3. "Probable cause" stage
2. "Reason to believe" stage 4. Conciliation stage

It requires the votes of at least four of the six Commissioners to take any action. The FEC can close a case at any point after reviewing a complaint. If a violation is found and conciliation cannot be reached, then the FEC can institute a civil court action against a respondent.

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