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For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Judith Ingram

April 23, 2009

Mary Brandenberger

  Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland

FEC ACTS ON ADVISORY OPINION REQUEST

WASHINGTON—At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission issued an advisory opinion requested by Senator James E. Risch (R-ID) and the Jim Risch for Lieutenant Governor Committee.

In Advisory Opinion 2009-06, the Commission determined that the Committee and its agents may solicit, receive, and spend funds that exceed the amount limits contained in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), for the sole purpose of retiring debts from Risch’s previous campaign for State office in Idaho. According to the Advisory Opinion, the funds used for this purpose may come from sources prohibited by the Act.  The Commission indicated in the Advisory Opinion that the Committee’s fundraising solicitations may refer only to Senator Risch, to one or more of his former opponents in the campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Idaho, or both. The Commission also indicated that the campaign finance activity must be conducted in accordance with Idaho State law.

Under the Act, Federal candidates and officeholders may not raise or spend funds in connection with an election other than an election for Federal office unless those funds comply with the amount limitations and source prohibitions of the Act. The Act provides, however, a limited exception for Federal candidates and officeholders who also seek, or have sought, State or local office.

At an open meeting session earlier in the week, the Commission was unable to reach a decision on Advisory Opinion Request 2009-03.  In that request, IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. sought FEC guidance on whether it could modify its charity-match program to encourage increased participation in its political action committee (PAC). The proposed modification would have allowed Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. to make a charitable donation of up to two dollars for each dollar contributed to the corporation’s PAC.

            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 of Representatives, 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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