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For Immediate Release
July 11, 2006
Contact: Kelly Huff
Bob Biersack
Ian Stirton
George Smaragdis
FEC COMPLETES ACTION ON FOUR ENFORCEMENT CASES

WASHINGTON --The Federal Election Commission has recently made public its final action on four matters previously under review (MURs).  In the first two MURs, the Commission found reason to believe that the Reform Party 2000 Convention Committee and the Reform Party of the United States of America violated the law by improperly using public funds for its convention, but took no further action in this instance. A federal court in Florida has previously ordered the Reform Party to repay to the Treasury more than $300,000 of the public funds the Reform Party received for its 2000 convention, which the Commission found to have been used for impermissible expenditures. (FEC v. Reform Party of the USA).

In MUR 5544, the Commission found no reason to believe Missourians for Hanaway and Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc. violated the law in the production and dissemination of a television advertisement used in a campaign for Missouri Secretary of State.

Finally in MUR 5697, the Missouri Democratic State Committee agreed to pay $20,000 in civil penalties for excessive contributions and failure to keep proper records of disbursements. This release contains only disposition information.

1-2. MURs 5164 & 5182

RESPONDENT:

(a)  Reform Party 2000 Convention Committee (the             Committee, Gerald Moan, treasurer [5164 & 5182]

(b)   Reform Party of the United States of America (RPUSA), Mark Lauterman, treasurer [5164 & 5182]

(c)   Perelman Pioneer & Company, Inc. (PP)[5164 & 5182]

(d)   The Performance Group ((TPG) [5164 & 5182]

 

COMPLAINANT:

Reform Party of Connecticut [5164]

Colorado Reform Party [5182]      

SUBJECT:

Improper use of public funds

  DISPOSITION:

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

          [re: improper payment of public funds to The Performance Group]

(a)      Dismiss the allegation*

          [re: nominating convention was not conducted in accordance with the party’s rules]

(c)      No reason to believe*

          [re: violated any provision of the Act]

(d)     Took no action*

MURs 5164 and 5182 were initiated from nearly identical complaints which alleged that the Reform Party 2000 Convention Committee spent public money for impermissible purposes.  The Commission dismissed three of the allegations:  (1) that the Reform Party’s 2000 nominating convention was not conducted in accordance with the party’s rules; (2) that the payment of a performance bond violated the Fund Act; and (3) that a payment to Perelman Pioneer for stage design violated the Fund Act. The Commission found reason to believe that the Reform Party 2000 Convention Committee, the Reform Party of the United States of America, and the treasurers of both committees, violated the law by making an improper payment of public funds to The Performance Group for convention expenses.  The Commission then determined to hold these matters in abeyance pending the conclusion of other repayment proceedings.  However, no further action was taken because the FEC has already obtained a judgment in federal court against the Reform Party for repayment of $333,558 in public funds used for its Convention.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5164 and/or 5182 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.

 

 

3.

MUR 5544

RESPONDENTS:

(a)   Missourians for Hanaway, Susan Ely, treasurer

(b)   Bush-Cheney ’04, Inc., Salvatore Purpura, treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

Corey Dillon, Executive Director, Missouri Democrat Party

SUBJECT:

Excessive contribution; corporate contribution

  DISPOSITION:

(a-b)    No reason to believe*

            [re: excessive contribution; corporate contribution]

The complainant alleged that Missourians for Hanaway, Catherine Hanaway’s 2004 campaign committee for Missouri Secretary of State, and Bush-Cheney ’04 Inc. coordinated their efforts in production and dissemination of a television advertisement that constituted an in-kind contribution to the President’s campaign and an electioneering communication. The Hanaway Committee explained that the advertisement was prepared solely by it to support Hanaway’s state campaign, there were no other federal candidates depicted in the commercial and the President’s campaign signs were not even readable in the advertisement. The Hanaway Committee further explained that there was no involvement by the President or his agents and no common vendors, former employees or independent contractors of the President’s campaign involved with the production of the advertisement. The Bush-Cheney Committee also denied that the President’s campaign had any involvement. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the law because there was no evidence of a coordinated communication; the advertisement does not promote or support the President; and it falls under the State and local candidate endorsement exemption to the electioneering communication provisions.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5544 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.

     

4.

MUR 5697

RESPONDENTS:

Missouri Democratic State Committee, Rod Anderson, treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

FEC Initiated (Audit)

SUBJECT:

Excessive contributions; excessive anonymous cash contributions; excessive contributions (in the form of untimely reimbursed staff advances); failure to keep proper records of its disbursements

  DISPOSITION:

Conciliation Agreement: $20,000 civil penalty*

This matter was generated by the Audit Division of the FEC. In determining the appropriate civil penalty, the Commission took into account that the Committee had recently paid a $110,000 civil penalty in MUR 5611 (News Release – October 4, 2005); had engaged a compliance consultant and certified public accountant as a full-time employee; is conducting reconciliation and review of its 2004 Election Cycle reports; and has agreed to have independent compliance audits conducted for calendar years 2005 and 2006.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5697 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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