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FEC Digest

 

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Judith Ingram

June 5 , 2009

Julia Queen

  Christian Hilland

 

 

 

ISSUE 2009-5

Weekly Digest

Week of June 8 – 12

COMMISSION MEETINGS

The Commission did not hold Open or Executive Sessions this week. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here. Agendas and related documents for Open Meetings are here.

Audio recordings for selected meetings, hearings and presentations are here.

ADVISORY OPINIONS

Draft AO

On June 12, the Commission made public Draft Advisory Opinion 2009-10 (Visclosky for Congress) regarding a request to use campaign funds to pay legal fees and expenses in connection with a federal investigation. The deadline for the public to submit written comments on the draft is noon on June 15.

Request Received
On June 8, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2009-14 from Mercedes-Benz USA LLC (MBUSA) and Sterling Truck Corporation (Sterling). MBUSA and Sterling ask whether MBUSA can establish and fund the administrative and solicitation costs of a separate segregated fund (SSF) for which Sterling would serve as the connected organization. MBUSA and Sterling are affiliated organizations with a common parent: Daimler North America Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German corporation Daimler AG.

In addition, requestors ask about the role foreign corporations and their domestic subsidiaries may play in administering a federal PAC. The request also addresses the conventions that govern naming a SSF.  MBUSA and Sterling have specifically asked whether the proposed SSF could be called DaimlerPAC.

The Commission must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by August 4, 2009. June 19 is the deadline for the public to submit written comments on the request.

Comments Received

On June 9, the Commission made public a comment from the Democratic National Committee,  the Democratic Senatorial Congressional Committee, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee regarding AOR 2009-13 (Black Rock Group). Black Rock Group seeks to serve as a common vendor advising one or more single-member limited liability companies on their independent expenditures concerning federal candidates and elections. Black Rock Group has asked whether its services would trigger political committee status. June 8 was the deadline for the public to submit written comments on the request.

Extension of Time Received

On June 8, the Commission received an Extension of Time regarding Advisory Opinion 2009-07 (Neugebauer).  June 8 was the deadline for the Commission to issue a response to the Advisory Opinion Request. The request, made by Representative Randy Neugebauer and his Committee, concerns the use and rental of a recreational boat owned by an LLC, of which Representative Neugebauer is a member. June 3 was the deadline for the public to submit written comments on the request.

Advisory Opinions, Requests, Comments and Extensions are available here.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public seven closed cases and three Statements of Reasons this week. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6168 – Park Federal Savings Bank. The Commission agreed to accept a conciliation agreement with the bank.

MUR 6071 – Kirk for Congress and Luke Praxmarer as Treasurer. The Commission dismissed the case.

MUR 6079 – Democratic Freshmen Political Action Committee and James Smith as Treasurer; Democrats Win Seats Political Action Committee and Lawrence Wasserman as Treasurer; Victory in November Election Political Action Committee and Brian Kelly as Treasurer; Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz; and Rep. Mike Thompson. The Commission found no reason to believe that the three committees, Wasserman Schultz or Thompson violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).

MUR 6134 – Cranley for Congress. The Commission agreed to accept a conciliation agreement with the Committee.

MUR 6020 – The Alliance for Climate Protection; Nancy Pelosi for Congress and Paul Pelosi as Treasurer; and Rep. Nancy Pelosi. The Commission dismissed the case, using its prosecutorial discretion.

MUR 6098 – Richard Hanna for Congress and Donald J. Robertello as Treasurer; and Richard Hanna. The Commission dismissed the matter and sent a letter of caution to the Committee and its treasurer.

MUR 6044 – Ronnie Musgrove for Senate and C. Dale Shearer as Treasurer; Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and John B. Poersch, Jr., as Treasurer. The Commission found no reason to believe that the DSCC made or the Musgrove committee accepted an excessive contribution in the form of a coordinated television advertisement.

The Commission, using its prosecutorial discretion, dismissed the allegation that the respondents did not display the proper disclaimer on ads.

MUR 5957 – Committee to Elect Sekhon for Congress and Daljit Kaur Sekhon as Treasurer. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly and Ellen L. Weintraub.

MUR 6013 – Peter Teahen; Friends of Peter Teahen and Jeffrey Elgin as Treasurer; and Teahen Funeral Home, Inc. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Chairman Steven T. Walther, Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen, and Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly, Caroline C. Hunter and Donald F. McGahn, II. A separate Statement of Reasons was issued by Vice Chairman Petersen and Commissioners Hunter and McGahn.

LITIGATION

Republican National Committee v. FEC. On June 8, the Commission filed a Supplemental Reply Memorandum with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in support of the FEC’s motion to dismiss the case. The Commission reiterated the argument that RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s claims are barred because they were already litigated in the McConnell v. FEC case and fail as a matter of law.

The complaint challenges the constitutionality of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act’s limits on the use of soft money (nonfederal funds) by political party committees. The Plaintiffs state that the soft money provisions as applied to their intended activities are overly broad and unconstitutional under the First Amendment guarantees of free speech and association, and are outside of Congress’ authority to regulate elections. The Commission contends that the soft money provisions are constitutional contribution limits that prevent corruption and the appearance of corruption.

AUDIT REPORTS

The Commission approved and made public two Audit Reports. A summary of the findings is below. Final Audit Reports are available here.

Kucinich for President 2008, Inc.  The audit, which was conducted under the FEC’s mandate to audit every committee that receives matching funds from the U.S. Treasury, revealed no issues requiring correction.

Zinga for Congress. The audit identified 16 excessive contributions from nine individuals, totaling $8,600. The report indicated that the Committee understated receipts and disbursements by $23,926 and $40,810, respectively, which caused an overstatement of its ending cash on hand balance. Other findings include the failure to report or adequately disclose the occupation and employer information concerning 148 individual contributions, the lack of purpose, payee, and date information on disbursements totaling $50,158, and failure to disclose or continuously report candidate loans and debts. In response, the Committee amended its reports to disclose the missing information.

PRESS RELEASES

2008 Presidential Campaign Financial Activity Summarized (released June 8)

FEC Takes Final Action on Six Cases (released June 10)

NEXT WEEK (JUNE 15 – 19, 2009)

June 18:  The Commission is scheduled to meet in Open Session.

June 20:  Disclosure reports for monthly filers are due.  Click here for information on electronic filing.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

July 15 – July Quarterly Report

July 20 – July Monthly Report

July 31 – July Mid-Year Report

UPCOMING EVENTS

June 24-25, Tallahassee, FL – As part of its State Outreach Program, the FEC will conduct informal briefings for PACs, party committees and candidate committees on areas of the law specific to their needs. The schedule is here.

July 8 – The FEC will host workshops on reporting requirements and its FECFile software to help candidates, parties and PACs prepare to file their July quarterly, monthly or mid-year reports.

July 28-29, Columbus, OH – State Outreach Program. The schedule is here.

August 5-6, Kansas City, MO – State Outreach Program. The schedule is here.

OTHER RESOURCES

June 8 – The FEC posted on its web site the June editions of its Candidate Guide Supplement, Corporate/Labor Guide Supplement, Nonconnected Guide Supplement, and Party Guide Supplement.

The June issue of The Record is here.