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For Immediate Release                                                                            Contact: Bob Biersack
May 16, 2007                                                                                                       George Smaragdis
                                                                                                                           Michelle Ryan

FEC Collects $22,500 in Civil Penalties in Two Enforcement Actions and Dismisses
Three Complaints

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission (FEC/the Commission) recently completed action on five matters under review (MURs), collecting a total of $22,500 in civil penalties in two cases and concluding that no violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) occurred in three other matters.

In MUR 5765, Crop Production Services, Inc. (CPS), an Illinois-based agricultural products company, agreed to pay a $17,000 civil penalty for violations of the Act related to corporate reimbursement of employee contributions.  The matter originated as a self-reported violation in which CPS disclosed that it had used corporate funds to reimburse $43,305 spent by CPS employees and spouses for purchases at auctions held by the Agricultural Retailers Association Political Action Committee. 

In MUR 5638, the Commission concluded that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2249 (Local 2249) and Bill Abbott for Preserving American Jobs, the principal campaign committee of William Abbott (IN/4), violated the Act when William Abbott accepted compensation from Local 2249 for time spent campaigning during working hours.  Mr. Abbott repaid Local 2249 within a few days of receipt of each payment.  Local 2249 agreed to pay a $4,500 civil penalty for making prohibited contributions and the Commission admonished Mr. Abbott and his committee for accepting prohibited contributions and failing to disclose them to the FEC.

MURs 5672 and 5733 centered on allegations that John “Jack” Davis, Jr., a Congressional candidate (NY/26), violated the Act by using entities under his control – the Save American Jobs Association and the Save the Jobs Party committee - to further his 2006 Congressional campaign.  Alleged violations included prohibited corporate contributions, failure to timely register and file accurate FEC disclosure reports and failure to include adequate disclaimers on communications. The Commission found no reason to believe that violations of the Act occurred.  The Commission’s Statement of Reasons is available at http://eqs.sdrdc.com/eqsdocs/00005C58.pdf.

MUR 5691 stemmed from allegations that Whalen for Congress, the principal campaign committee of Michael Whalen, a 2006 Congressional candidate (IA/1), coordinated with the Iowa Machine Shed Company (Machine Shed), a restaurant chain he owned, to produce a restaurant advertisement intended to benefit Mr. Whalen’s congressional campaign.  The Commission concluded that the coordination regulations were not met and found no reason to believe that violations of the Act occurred.

This release contains only summary information.  For additional details, please consult publicly available documents for each case in the Enforcement Query System (EQS) on the FEC website at http://eqs.fec.gov/eqs/searcheqs

1.

MUR 5765

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Crop Production Services, Inc.

(b) Thomas Warner

(c) Alan Steele

(d) Denny Horstman

(e) Duane Mol

COMPLAINANT:

Sua Sponte Submission (Self-reported)

SUBJECT:

Prohibited contributions: contribution in the name of another and corporate contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a-e) Conciliation agreement: $17,000

The matter originated from a sua sponte submission from Crop Production Services, Inc. (CPS), an agricultural products company in Galesburg, IL regarding its use of corporate funds to reimburse the contributions of six individuals totaling $43,305.  CPS reimbursed CPS vice-president Thomas Warner, his wife, three CPS managers and one of their spouses for contributions made to Agricultural Retailers Association Political Action Committee (ARA-PAC) in the form of purchases at three ARA-PAC auctions in 2001, 2002 and 2003.  Warner approved the CPS corporate reimbursements and knowingly permitted his own name to be used to effect contributions in the name of another.

The Commission found reason to believe that CPS and Thomas Warner along with CPS managers Alan Steele, Denny Horstman and Duane Mol violated the Act either by making a contribution in the name of another or knowingly permitting their names to be used to effect a contribution in the name of another.  CPS and Warner also violated the Act by using corporate funds to reimburse individuals for political contributions made in their names.  Respondents agreed to pay a civil penalty of $17,000 and cease and desist from committing future similar violations.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5765 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 5638

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Bill Abbott For Preserving American Jobs and Sarah Ruth Rehmel, in her official capacity at Treasurer

(b) William Abbott

(c) International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2249

(d) Glenn R. Collins, President/ Business Manager, Local 2249

(e) General Electric Company

(f) Walter Casavecchia, Human Resources Manager, General Electric Company

COMPLAINANT:

David C. Hobbs

SUBJECT:

Making of prohibited contributions; acceptance of prohibited contributions; and failure to disclose receipts.

DISPOSITION:

(a,b) Admonished and took no further action

(c,d) Conciliation agreement: $4,500 civil penalty.

(e,f) No reason to believe.

According to the complaint, after GE denied Abbott a leave of absence to campaign, Local 2249 compensated Abbott through union-paid vouchers for time spent campaigning during working hours and allowed Abbott to reimburse Local 2249 for his wages.

In 2002, Abbott was a relatively low-wage employee whose campaign raised very little money.  Local 2249 compensated Abbott with union-paid vouchers from August 15, 2002 to October 30, 2002 for a total of 224.83 hours and total gross wages of $4,779.91.  These payments constituted contributions under the Act to Bill Abbott For Preserving American Jobs, the principal campaign committee of William Abbott.  Abbott promptly reimbursed Local 2249 for all funds received through union-paid vouchers within a few days of receipt of each payment. 

In a conciliation agreement with the FEC, Local 2249 agreed to pay a civil penalty of $4,500.  The Commission found reason to believe that William Abbott and Bill Abbott For Preserving American Jobs accepted prohibited contributions and admonished them, but took no further action in light of the circumstances.  The Commission found no reason to believe that GE and Casavecchia violated the Act.  The Commission's Statement of Reasons is available at http://eqs.sdrdc.com/eqsdocs/00005C3A.pdf.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5638 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.

3/4.

MUR 5672 / 5733

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Save American Jobs Association, Inc. (MUR 5672)

(b) Jack Davis for Congress and Robert R. Davis, in his official capacity as Treasurer (MUR 5672/ MUR 5733)

(c) I Squared R Element Company, Inc. (MUR 5672/ MUR 5733)

(d) Save Jobs Party and Jack Davis, in his official capacity as Treasurer (MUR 5672)

(e) John “Jack” Davis, Jr., in his personal capacity (MUR 5672/ MUR 5733)

(f) Save American Jobs PAC (MUR 5733)

(g) Jack Davis Exploratory Committee, Inc. (MUR 5733)

(h)Davis for Congress and Alan J. Davis, in his official capacity as Treasurer (MUR 5733)

COMPLAINANT:

Stamm, Reynolds & Stamm (MUR 5672)

Henry F. Wojtasek (MUR 5733)

SUBJECT:

Making of prohibited corporate contribution; failure to disclose in-kind contributions; failure to timely register as a Federal committee and file required disclosure reports; failure to timely register as a Federal candidate; failure to include adequate disclaimers; acceptance of prohibited contributions

DISPOSITION:

(a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h) No reason to believe

(a,e,g,h) Dismiss the matter

According to complainants, John “Jack” Davis, Jr. and entities within his control committed multiple violations of the Act to further his 2006 Congressional campaign.  Davis made an unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2004 as a Democrat in the 26th Congressional District of New York.  His principal campaign committee was Jack Davis for Congress.  After the defeat, Davis formed the Save the American Jobs Association and the Save the Jobs Party committee to continue disseminating his campaign message.  The Save the Jobs Party committee was registered with the Commission in March of 2005.  In October of 2005, Davis formed the Jack Davis Exploratory Committee, Inc. to determine whether or not he should run for Congress in 2006.  In March of 2006, Davis registered as a candidate for the 2006 election and designated Davis for Congress as his principal campaign committee.

Complainants alleged that respondents violated multiple provisions of the Act, but the Commission either found no reason to believe that respondents violated the Act or dismissed the allegations in each instance.

DOCUMENTS ON PUBLIC RECORD:

Documents from this matter are available from the Commission’s web site at http://www.fec.gov by entering 5672 or 5733 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.

5.

MUR 5691

RESPONDENTS:

(a) Michael L. Whalen

(b) Whalen for Congress and Kirk E Whalen, in his official capacity as Treasurer

(c) Iowa Machine Shed Co.

(d) Carmen Darland

(e) Victory Enterprises, Inc.

(f) Brian Dumas

(g) Steve Grubbs

COMPLAINANT:

Carol Earnhardt

SUBJECT:

Coordinated communications; prohibited in-kind contributions; failure to properly disclose in-kind contribution; and failure to include adequate disclaimers.

DISPOSITION:

(a-g) No reason to believe.

Michael Whalen, the owner of the Iowa Machine Shed Company (Machine Shed) was a Republican candidate for the House of representatives in Iowa’s First Congressional District in 2006.  According to the complaint, Whalen’s principal campaign committee, Whalen for Congress (the Committee), coordinated with his restaurant chain, Machine Shed, to produce an advertisement intended to benefit Whalen’s Congressional campaign.  The ad featured Whalen’s image and themes similar to those of the campaign.  The complainant alleged that the “Best of Iowa” ad was created for Machine Shed by Victory Enterprises, Inc., a Whalen for Congress campaign consultant.  The communication allegedly lacked adequate disclaimers, constituted an in-kind corporate contribution and was not properly disclosed to the FEC.

The Commission concluded that the “Best of Iowa” ad did not satisfy the coordination requirements and did not constitute a prohibited in-kind contribution.  As a result, there was no in-kind contribution to report and the ad was not required to comply with the Act’s disclaimer requirements.  The Commission found no reason to believe that 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 5691 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.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

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