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For Immediate Release
February 21, 2006
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 two matters previously under review (MURs).  This release contains only disposition information.

1.

MUR 5421

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   John Kerry for President. Inc., Robert Farmer, treasurer

(b)   Teresa Heinz Kerry

(c)   Mellon Trust of New England, N.A.

COMPLAINANT:

Thomas J. Fitton, Judicial Watch, Inc.

SUBJECT:

National bank contribution/bank loan made outside the ordinary course of business and on the basis that assures repayment; excessive contribution (in the form of guaranteed loan); failure to accurately report loan

DISPOSITION:

(a)   Reason to believe, but took no further action*

       [re: national bank contribution/bank loan made outside the ordinary course of business and on the basis that assures repayment; failure to accurately report loan]

(b)   No reason to believe*

       [re: excessive contribution (in the form of guaranteed loan)]

(c)   Reason to believe, but took no further action*

       [re: national bank contribution/bank loan made outside the ordinary course of business and on the basis that assures repayment]

            The complaint alleged that the Committee may have accepted, and the Senator’s spouse Teresa Heinz Kerry may have made an unreported and excessive contribution “ to the extent (Mrs. Kerry’s ) property rights in the Kerry family home or any other jointly–held property were pledged as collateral for any or all of the secured loans received by the Committee. Publicly available information raised several questions as to whether the Mellon Trust loan constituted an excessive or prohibited contribution and whether the loan was accurately reported.  In order to obtain the information necessary to resolve these questions, the Commission found reason to believe that the Committee and Mellon Trust Bank may have violated the law. Information obtained from the Respondents established that Senator Kerry did not borrow in excess of his share of the collateral property; that the Mellon Trust loan was a standard loan product offered to a number of other customers during the relevant time period and the Committee’s reporting of the loan in most respects accurately reflected the flow of funds from the bank to Senator Kerry and from Senator Kerry to the Committee. The Commission decided to take no further action against the Committee and Mellon Trust and find no reason to believe Teresa Heinz Kerry violated the law and close 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 5421 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 5560

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Case for Congress, James H. Case, treasurer

(b)   Stephen M. Case

(c)   Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Inc.

(d)  KFC Engineering Management, Inc.

(e)   KFC Airport, Inc.

(f)    Representative Edward E. Case

(g)   Phoenix Group, LLC

(h)   North Hawaii Health Care Group, LLC

COMPLAINANT:

Paul Dunlop

SUBJECT:

Corporate contributions; contributions in the name of another; excessive cash contributions; excessive anonymous cash contributions; failure to accurately report contributor information

DISPOSITION:

(a)        No reason to believe*

            [re: corporate contributions; contributions in the name of another; excessive cash contributions; excessive anonymous cash contributions; failure to accurately report contributor information]

(b-e)    No reason to believe*

            [re: corporate contributions; contributions in the name of another]

(f-h)     No reason to believe*

            [re: corporate contributions]         

            Complainant alleged that Case for Congress accepted corporate contributions; contributions made in the name of another and failed to accurately report contributor information; accepted excessive cash and anonymous contributions. The complaint attached an article from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, regarding a settlement between the KFC entities and the Hawaiian Campaign Spending Commission (HCSC) that the KFC entities had made contributions that were both excessive and in the name of another to a number of campaigns, including U.S. Rep. Ed Case. In response, the Committee’s treasurer stated that he contacted the executive director of the HCSC, who told him the case referenced in the news article involved Case’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign. Also, the KFC entities stated that the alleged contributions concerned Case’s gubernatorial campaign in 2002 and not the Congressional campaign. In addition, the complaint alleged that contributions to the Committee from Stephen M. Case, and from other Maui personnel, were actually corporate contributions. None of these contributions exceeded $2,000 and the response from Maui asserted that each of these contributions was made from personal funds.  Also, public records show that Phoenix and North Hawaii are both registered as LLCs, not corporations. The Committee stated that it complied with the reporting and accounting requirements for cash and anonymous cash contributions. The Commission found no reason to believe any of the respondents violated the law 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 5560 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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