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For Immediate Release
October 20, 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 fours matters previously under review (MURs). This release contains only disposition information.

1.

MUR 5537

RESPONDENT:

(a)   VECO Corporation

(b)   Anchorage Daily News

(c)    William Allen

COMPLAINANT:

Jean A. Paal

SUBJECT:

Media exemption/editorial

  DISPOSITION:

(a-b)    No reason to believe*

The complaint alleged that the production costs associated with the publication of the "Voice of the Times", an op-ed feature of the Anchorage Daily News were akin to paid advertisements and therefore not entitled to the media exemption. Through a contractual arrangement, VECO regularly supplies the content Voice of the Times and pays for the associated production costs. The complainant asserted that payments made by VECO Corporate to the Anchorage Daily News constituted either a prohibited independent expenditure or an independent expenditure by VECO CEO, William Allen. The Commission concluded that the media exemption applies and found no reason to believe that any of the Respondents violated the Act and closed the file.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5537under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

 

 

2.

MUR 5653

RESPONDENTS:

The Observer, Inc.

COMPLAINANT:

Eric J. Ares

SUBJECT:

Matters not with FEC jurisdiction

  DISPOSITION:

Dismiss the matter.

The complaint alleged that the Observer, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) entity with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), had endorsed the Bush-Cheney campaign for President and Vice President. The complainant contended that the endorsement constituted political campaign activity that violated the newspaper’s tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. The respondent cited a ruling issued by the IRS that it believes allows separately incorporated 501(c)(3) organizations, which are closely affiliated with colleges , to endorse candidates for public office. They also contended that the allegations were outside the jurisdiction of the FEC. The Commission decided to dismiss the complaint. 

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5653 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

     

 

 

The Enforcement Priority System (EPS) rates all incoming cases against objective criteria to determine whether they warrant use of the Commission’s limited resources.

     Cases dismissed under EPS fall into two categories:  low-rated cases and stale cases.  Low rated cases are those that do not warrant use of the Commission’s resources to pursue because of their lower significance relative to other pending matters. Stale cases are those that initially received a higher rating but have remained unassigned for a significant period due to a lack of staff resources for effective investigation.  Effective enforcement relies upon the timely pursuit of complaints and referrals to ensure compliance with the law.  Investigations concerning activity more remote in time usually require a greater commitment of resources, primarily due to the fact that the evidence of such activity becomes more difficult to develop as it ages.  The utility of commencing an investigation declines as these cases age, until they reach a point when activation of a case would not be an efficient use of the Commission’s resources.  As cases reach this point, they are recommended for dismissal.

Dismissed – Low Rated

1.

MUR 5535

RESPONDENT:

Veterans for Bush

COMPLAINANT:

Ralph Tracy

SUBJECT:

Disclaimer

The complaint alleged that a sign reading “Veterans for Bush – Paid for By Veterans” violated Federal Election laws. The Commission decided to dismiss the complaint.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5535 under case number in the Enforcement Query System.  They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington.

 

 

2.

MUR 5536

RESPONDENTS:

Bill Spadea for Congress, Josh Lignana, treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

David M. Del Vecchio, Chairman, Hunterdon County Democratic Committee

SUBJECT:

Disclaimers

The complaint alleged that the Bill Spadea for Congress Committee distributed literature and materials during the 2003-2004 election cycle, which lacked the appropriate “Paid for by” disclaimers. The complainant did not include any copies of the campaign materials in the complaint. The Office of General Counsel contacted the complainant in order to secure the materials and he responded that he did not want to pursue the matter any further and could not provide the Commission with the materials referred to in the complaint. The Commission decided to dismiss the complaint.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

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