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For Immediate Release
May 26, 2005
Contact:
Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis

FEC ASSESSES $200,000 IN CIVIL PENALTIES

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has entered into two separate conciliation agreements, one with Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Inc., Citizenship Education Fund, their president, the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and another with the Democratic National Committee (DNC), for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.

The conciliation agreements contain admissions of violations, prohibitions on future misconduct and the required payment of $200,000 in civil penalties which are equally divided between the Jackson respondents and the DNC.

In September 2000, Reverend Jackson and other Rainbow/PUSH representatives reached an agreement with officials from the DNC that various Democratic Party committees would provide funds to the Jackson respondents to offset the costs of the speaking tour which would benefit Democratic Party candidates. Although the respondents contend that there was an intention that the payments would be made prior to incurring the expenses, the Jackson respondents were not fully reimbursed until after the 2000 election.           

These violations relate to approximately $450,000 in expenditures that the Jackson respondents made with corporate funds that eventually were reimbursed by various Democratic Party committees, to fund a partisan get-out-the-vote and a voter registration speaking tour that was conducted on behalf of and closely coordinated with the DNC immediately prior to the November 2000 general election.

The speaking tour involved over 120 events between September and November 2000, over 80% of which were described as “DNC/Coordinated Campaign” events on Reverend Jackson’s itineraries. Most of the events, according to the itineraries, included the appearance of Democratic Senate or Congressional candidates. A DNC employee was detailed to work out of Rainbow’s offices in Chicago as the tour coordinator. The trip coordinator briefed Democratic Party officials concerning the tour.

The Act prohibits corporations from making contributions or expenditures from their general treasury funds in connection with any election of any candidate for federal office. In addition, the law prohibits any officer or director of any corporation from consenting to any expenditure or contribution by the corporation. With limited exceptions, not applicable here, the prohibition on corporate contributions also extends to non-profit corporations such as Rainbow/PUSH and Citizenship Education Fund. 

1.

MUR 5183

RESPONDENTS:

(a)  Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, Inc.

(b) Citizen Education Fund, Inc

(c)  Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., President, Rainbow/PUSH       Coalition, Inc. and Citizen Education Fund, Inc.

(d) Democratic National Committee (DNC), Andrew Tobias, treasurer

(e) Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, J.B. Poersch,       treasurer

(f)  Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, John Lapp, treasurer

(g) Gore-Lieberman, Inc., Jose Villarreal, treasurer

(h) Keep Hope Alive PAC, Steven B. Cobble, treasurer

(i)  People United

COMPLAINANT:

American Conservative Union, David A. Keene, Chairman

SUBJECT:

 Corporate contributions; failure to pay allocable expenses from the federal account/use of non-federal funds in connection with a federal election

DISPOSITION:

(a-c)   Conciliation Agreement: $100,000 civil penalty*

(d)     Conciliation Agreement: $100,000 civil penalty*

(e-f)   Reason to believe, but took no further action*

          [re: failure to pay allocable expenses from the federal           account/use of non-federal funds in connection with a federal election]

(g-i)   Took no action*

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5183 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  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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