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For Immediate Release
December 27, 2005
Contact: Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis
ADR PROGRAM RESOLVES CASES

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission is making public six cases resolved in the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. This brings to 224 the total number of cases released since the ADR program began October 2, 2000. The program’s goal is to expedite resolution of some enforcement matters, reduce the cost of processing complaints, and enhance overall FEC enforcement. Closed ADR negotiated settlement summaries are available in the FEC’s Press and Public Records offices.

            For a case to be considered for ADR treatment, a respondent must express willingness to engage in the ADR process, agree to set aside the statute of limitations while the case is pending in the ADR Office, and agree to participate in bilateral negotiations and, if necessary, mediation.

Bilateral negotiations through ADR are oriented toward reaching an expedient resolution with a mutually agreeable settlement that is both satisfying to the respondent(s) and in compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).  Resolutions reached through direct and, when necessary, mediated negotiations are submitted to the Commissioners for final approval. If a resolution is not reached in bilateral negotiation, the case proceeds by mutual agreement to mediation. It should be noted that cases resolved through ADR are not precedential.

1.

ADR 227

RESPONDENT:

American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), PEOPLE

SOURCE:

FEC Initiated (Audit)

SUBJECT:

Failure to itemize disbursements; failure to report debt

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

Respondents did not itemize membership and fundraising disbursement because they were made from their non-federal account. All expenses that benefit both federal and non-federal accounts must be initially paid for and reported by the federal account. The Audit Division staff acknowledged that no impermissible funds were used to make the disbursements at issue. They could have made these expenses from union treasury funds in which case no disclosure would have been required. Respondents, in an effort to avoid a dispute with the FEC, ceased paying any of the administrative and solicitation costs from the non-federal account, and instead began paying for all of these costs out of AFSCME’s treasury funds. In response to the audit, the Respondent amended its practices in how it reports debts and obligations.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 227 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.

2.

ADR 257

RESPONDENT:

American College of Cardiology PAC, Michael A. Votaw, treasurer

SOURCE:

FEC Initiated (RAD)

SUBJECT:

Failure to file 48-hour report

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

$1,000 civil penalty

Respondents acknowledged an inadvertent violation of FECA, due to their inexperience. In an effort, to avoid similar errors in the future, Respondents agree to appoint a FECA compliance officer who will attend a FEC seminar within 12 months.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 257 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.

3.

ADR 260

RESPONDENT:

Democratic Executive Committee of Florida, Rudy Parker, treasurer

SOURCE:

FEC Initiated (Audit)

SUBJECT:

Misstatements of financial activity

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

Respondents acknowledged an inadvertent violation of FECA, stated that in response to the Interim Audit and recommendations of the Audit staff, they filed amended reports to correct the misstatements of financial activity for the years 2001 and 2002. Respondents in an effort to avoid similar errors in the future, agree to hire a comptroller/accountant, hire a compliance specialist and send a representative to a FEC seminar within 12 months.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 260 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.

4.

ADR 271

RESPONDENT:

Taff for Congress, Kimberly S. Stewart, treasurer

SOURCE:

MUR 5649: Charlyne Rothman

SUBJECT:

Disclaimer

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

The Commission rejected the consolidated settlement agreement for Taff for Congress and closed the file. Statements of Reasons were issued by Chairman Thomas, Vice Chairman Toner and Commissioners Mason, McDonald and Weintraub.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 271 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.

5.

ADR 279

RESPONDENT:

Citizens for Claudia Bermudez for Congress, Brion Wikes, Treasurer

SOURCE:

FEC Initiated (RAD)

SUBJECT:

Misstatements of financial activity

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

$500 Civil Penalty

The committee filed amendments to its 2004 October Quarterly and 30-Day Post General Election Reports showing significantly more disbursements than were originally reported.  The committee argued that the errors were inadvertent and the result of inexperienced staff and a software glitch. The committee agrees to work with RAD staff to terminate the committee.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 279 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.

6.

ADR 283

RESPONDENT:

No Vote Left Behind, Natasha George, Treasurer

SOURCE:

FEC Initiated (RAD)

SUBJECT:

Failure to file 48-hour notices of Independent Expenditures

NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT:

$2,500 Civil Penalty

The committee failed to file timely four 48-Hour Notices of Independent Expenditures totaling $47,791.96.  The expenditures were disclosed on subsequent quarterly reports but the statute requires more timely disclosure.  The committee acknowledges a violation due to an inexperienced volunteer staff and agrees to: pay a civil penalty of $2,500, develop a FECA compliance manual, and attend a FEC seminar within 12 months.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 283 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.

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