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For Immediate Release                                                                               Contact: Bob Biersack
April 5, 2007                                                                                                           George Smaragdis
                                                                                                                              Michelle Ryan

FEC COMPLETES ACTION ON FOUR ENFORCEMENT CASES

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission recently completed action on four matters previously under review (MURs). 

In MUR 5767, the Republican Issues Committee agreed to pay a $110,000 civil penalty for failing to comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act’s (the Act) reporting requirements.  The Committee failed to disclose all receipts and disbursements on its 2004 Pre-General, Post-General and Year End Reports.

In MUR 5808, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. Political Action Committee (PAC) agreed to pay a $110,000 civil penalty for failing to comply with the Act’s reporting provisions and for receiving transfers of corporate funds.  Its connected organization, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. agreed to pay a $4,600 civil penalty for making a prohibited corporate contribution to its PAC.

In MUR 5681, the High Point Regional Association of Realtors paid a $4,500 civil penalty for improperly soliciting contributions to the National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee. The solicitations lacked proper notices of the committee’s political purposes and the member’s right to refuse to contribute without reprisal.

In MUR 5743, the Commission found no reason to believe that Betty Sutton or the Betty Sutton for Congress Committee knowingly received excessive contributions in the form of coordinated expenditures.  In addition, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter as it pertained to EMILY’s List and OH Women Vote! – A Project of EMILY’s List.  The complaint centered on the use of a common vendor for mailing address purposes and the republication of campaign materials.

This release contains only disposition information.

1.

MUR 5767

RESPONDENTS:

Republican Issues Committee, Chris Gersten, treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

FEC-Initiated (Reports Analysis Division)

SUBJECT:

Failure to disclose receipts and disbursements

DISPOSITION:

Conciliation agreement: $110,000 civil penalty*

The FEC’s Reports Analysis Division discovered that respondents failed to report receipts and disbursements in their 12 day Pre-General Report, 30 Day Post-General Report and Year End Report in 2004 after the Committee amended its 2004 reports. Respondents contended that the misreporting of receipts and disbursements in 2004 reports was due to administrative oversight and that the Committee amended its reports upon discovery of the errors.  Respondents failed to report $93,000.31 in receipts and $106,719.42 in disbursements in the 12 Day Pre-General Report, $675,813.65 in receipts and $647,547.67 in disbursements in their 30 Day Pre-General Report, and $325,616.45 in receipts in their Year End Report. The respondents signed a conciliation agreement in which they agreed to pay a $110,000 civil penalty.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the

Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering

5767 under case numbers in the Enforcement Query System. They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington, DC.

2.

MUR 5808

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc. PAC (PPAF PAC), Chris Korsmo, Treasurer

(b) Planned Parenthood Action Fund Inc.

(c) Planned Parenthood Federation of America

COMPLAINANT:

FEC-Initiated (Reports Analysis Division)

SUBJECT:

(a,b) Failure to disclose receipts and disbursements

(b,c) Prohibited corporate contribution to federal PAC

DISPOSITION:

(a) Conciliation agreement: $110,000 civil penalty*

(b) Conciliation agreement: $4,600 civil penalty

(c) Admonish and take no further action

The FEC’s Reports Analysis Division discovered that respondents failed to report receipts and disbursements in their original 30 Day Post-General Report and Year End Report in 2004 after they submitted amended versions of the reports.  Respondents contended that they amended 2004 reports filed with the Commission upon discovering that activity of PPAF PAC had not been disclosed, and they also retained an outside consultant to audit the PPAF PAC’s financial activity.  Independent review, initiated by the respondents, revealed that the PPAF PAC failed to disclose receipts and disbursements, disclosed one receipt and one disbursement that did not occur and accepted transfers of corporate funds.  The Commission found reason to believe that respondents violated the Act by failing to disclose receipts and disbursements, and erroneously disclosing receipts and disbursements, in amounts totaling $1,727,328, and by receiving $724,309 through transfers of corporate funds.  The Commission also found reason to believe that Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America violated the Act by transferring $24,309 and $700,000 respectively, in corporate funds to the PPAF PAC.  In a consolidated conciliation agreement, PPAF PAC agreed to pay a civil penalty of $110,000 and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Inc. agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4,600.  The Commission voted to admonish and take no further action as to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the

Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering

5808 under case numbers in the Enforcement Query System. They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington, DC.

3.

MUR 5681

RESPONDENTS:

(a) High Point Regional Association of Realtors (HPRAR)

(b) National Association of Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC), Bruce Wolf, treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

Michael D. Pugh

SUBJECT:

Improper Solicitation of Contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a) Conciliation Agreement:  $4,500 civil penalty*

(b) No reason to believe

The complainant alleged that HPRAR used “intimidation, coercion and retaliation” to force members to make contributions to RPAC.  The complaint specifically alleged that HPRAR publicized the names of members who did not make contributions in the association’s monthly newsletter and at association meetings.  HPRAR did not dispute the publication of this information, but argued that their actions did not violate the Act because they were not coercive.  The Commission determined that solicitations made by HPRAR on behalf of RPAC violated the Act because they lacked proper notices of the political purposes of the PAC and the member’s right to refuse to contribute without reprisal.  Respondents agreed not to commit similar violations in the future.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the

Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering

5681 under case numbers in the Enforcement Query System. They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington, DC.

4.

MUR 5743

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Betty Sutton

(b) Betty Sutton for Congress, Joseph Quolke, treasurer

(c) EMILY’s List, Judy Lichtman, treasurer

(d) OH Women Vote! – A Project of EMILY’s List

COMPLAINANT:

Thomas Sawyer

SUBJECT:

Excessive in-kind contributions in form of coordinated expenditures.

DISPOSITION:

(a,b) No reason to believe*

(c)    Letter of admonishment

(c,d) Dismiss the matter**

The complaint alleged that EMILY’s List and OH Women Vote! made, and Betty Sutton and her principal campaign committee, Betty Sutton for Congress, received, excessive in-kind contributions in the form of coordinated expenditures.  The complainant asserted that both EMILY’s List and the Sutton committee used the same UPS store for mailing address purposes; and similar or identical photos of Betty Sutton appeared in communications by OH Women Vote! and on the Betty Sutton for Congress web site.  Respondents sufficiently rebutted the coordination claims, and the Commission found no reason to believe that Betty Sutton or her principal campaign committee knowingly received excessive contributions in the form of coordinated expenditures.  The Commission dismissed the complaint against OH Women Vote! and EMILY’s list.   

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the

Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering

5743 under case numbers in the Enforcement Query System. They are also available in the FEC’s Public Records Office at 999 E St. NW in Washington, DC.

*There are four administrative stages to the FEC enforcement process:

1. Receipt of proper complaint

2. “Reason to believe” stage

3. “Probable cause” stage

4. Conciliation stage

FEC decisions require the votes of at least four of its six Commissioners.

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.                                                     

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

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