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For Immediate Release
January 28, 2005
Contact: Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis
COMPLIANCE CASES MADE PUBLIC
 

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

  MURs 5387 and 5446  
     
  RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Welch for Wisconsin, John J. Hiller, treasurer [5387/5446]

(b)   Citizens for Welch, Richard J. Rathjen,

       treasurer [5387/5446]

(c)   State Senator Robert T. Welch [5387/5446]

(d)  Jeanne Welch [5446]

(e)   Republican Party of Wisconsin, Buck Shilling,

       treasurer [5446]

(f)    Gateway Ventures [5446]

(g)    Phil Prange, Consultant for Gateway Ventures [5446]
  COMPLAINANT:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin [5387/5446]

  SUBJECT: Use of non-federal (state) funds for a federal election; improper transfer of non-federal funds to federal account
  DISPOSITION:

(a-c)   No reason to believe*

          [re: use of non-federal (state) funds for a federal election]

          Reason to believe*

          [re: improper transfer of non-federal funds to federal account]

(d)     No reason to believe*

          [re: violated any provision of the Act or regulations]

(e-g)  No reason to believe*

          [re: use of non-federal (state) funds for a federal election]

  The complaints alleged that Robert Welch, a sitting Wisconsin State Senator and United States Senate candidate in 2003-2004, violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by using nonfederal funds from his state campaign account (“Citizens for Welch”) for payments made in connection with his federal candidacy. The complaints alleged that disbursements made from the state committee after the date Welch announced his federal candidacy, for radio advertisements, fundraising and other campaign activities were made in connection with his federal candidacy. The complaints also alleged that Welch impermissibly transferred $1,000 directly from his state campaign account to his federal account and that a state campaign committee salary payment to the candidate’s wife was used to fund a subsequent contribution to the federal committee. The Commission found there was no reason to believe that disbursements made by the state committee were for the candidate’s federal election. The Commission, however, did find reason to believe two transfers of $1,000 each from the state committee to the federal committee were impermissible but due to the amount involved and recognizing that the committee refunded the money, the Commission decided to take no further action and send an admonishment letter. The Commission found there was no reason to believe Jeanne Welch violated the law with regard to the contribution she made to her husband’s campaign.

  DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from these matters are available from the Commission's web site at http://eqs.sdrdc.com/eqs/searcheqs by entering 5387 or 5446 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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