For Immediate Release Contact: Bob Biersack
June 1, 2007 George Smaragdis
FEC APPROVES AUDITS OF KERRY/EDWARDS 2004 AND GEPHARDT FOR PRESIDENT, ISSUES NOTICE OF PROPOSED RULEMAKING
Also Approves Policy Statement on the Best Efforts of Treasurers and Advisory Opinion
At its open meeting Thursday, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved a Final Audit Report for the 2004 Presidential campaign of Kerry/Edwards 2004. The Commission voted to approve findings that Kerry/Edwards 2004 Inc. exceeded the general election expenditure limit by $1,242,824 million and that the Kerry/Edwards 2004 Inc. General Election Legal and Accounting Compliance Fund received $10,550 in impermissible contributions. The audit also found that the campaigns must pay to the U.S. Treasury $64,134 for checks that were not cashed by recipients
The Commission also completed action on the 2004 Presidential campaign audit for Gephardt for President (GFP), concluding that GFP must repay $250,303 of federal matching funds that it received in excess of its entitlement. GFP must also disgorge to the U.S. Treasury $60,556 in excessive contributions and $12,242 for checks that were not cashed by recipients. The Commission also found that GFP exceeded the Iowa Spending Limit by $162,943.
The Kerry and Gephardt campaigns may appeal the Commission’s findings. That appeal may include the submission of written legal and factual materials by the campaigns, as well as a public hearing before the Commission on the contested issues. The Commission will then make a final repayment determination. Under the federal campaign finance law, all publicly funded Presidential campaigns are audited to ensure these funds were used for permissible campaign expenses and to determine if any of these funds should be returned to the U.S. Treasury. Such determinations are common.
The FEC approved for public comment a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Federal Election Activity (FEA). The Commission is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would make permanent, with certain minor revisions, an Interim Final Rule that excluded from FEA certain voter identification and get-out-the-vote activities conducted exclusively in connection with non-Federal elections that do not occur on the same date as Federal elections.
The FEC issued a Policy Statement to clarify its enforcement policy regarding the requirements for satisfying the Federal Election Campaign Act’s “best efforts” standard for obtaining, maintaining and submitting financial information to the Commission. The Policy Statement makes clear that the FEC intends to apply the Act’s best efforts provision to efforts made to obtain and maintain all information required by the Act and to submit the required information in disclosure reports, consistent with the holding of the District Court ruling in Lovely v. Federal Election Commission, 307 F.Supp.2d 294 (D.Mass. 2004).
The Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2007-07, concluding that the campaign committee of James W. Craig, a 2006 primary candidate from New Hampshire’s First Congressional District, may amend its reports to treat funds received from Mr. Craig, and initially reported as contributions, as loans. An affidavit from the candidate and a statement from the campaign’s bookkeeper submitted to the FEC indicate that Mr. Craig intended the funds to be treated as loans. After amending its reports, the committee may accept additional contributions for the 2006 primary election to repay these loans.
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.