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For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Judith Ingram

July 21 , 2009

Julia Queen

  Christian Hilland

FEC TAKES FINAL ACTION ON SEVEN CASES

WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission recently made public its final action on seven matters under review (MURs). In two matters, respondents agreed to pay civil penalties of $15,000 and $6,000. In another, the Commission agreed to accept a conciliation agreement without a civil penalty due to the mitigating circumstances presented. The Commission found no reason to believe violations occurred in another case, and it dismissed three matters.

Under the law, the FEC must attempt to resolve its enforcement cases, or MURs, through a confidential investigative process that may lead to a negotiated conciliation agreement between the Commission and the individual or group.Additional information regarding MURs can be found on the FEC web site at http://www.fec.gov/em/mur.shtml.

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 web site at http://eqs.fec.gov/eqs/searcheqs.

MUR 6185

RESPONDENTS:

Myers for Congress 2008 Committee and Alan Mills, in his official capacity as treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

FEC Initiated

SUBJECT:

In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission found that the Myers Committee and Mills, as treasurer, failed to disclose fully receipts and disbursements. Dr. Woodrow Myers was a candidate in Indiana’s 7th Congressional District.

OUTCOME:

The Commission found reason to believe the respondents violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), based on disclosure reports filed with the FEC. In a conciliation agreement, the respondents agreed to pay a civil penalty of $15,000.

MUR 6034

RESPONDENTS:

Manion for Congress and Richard Durso, in his official capacity as treasurer; Worth & Company, Inc.

COMPLAINANT:

Todd Myers

SUBJECT:

The complaint alleged that the Act was violated when the Manion Committee and Durso, as treasurer, knowingly accepted and Worth & Company, Inc. (“Worth”) made prohibited in-kind contributions in the form of facility usage, staff time, food, beverages, printing and miscellaneous expenses for a fundraising event without advance payment or compensation by the Committee. Additionally, the complaint alleged that the Committee failed to disclose debt incurred from the fundraising event on its disclosure reports and to provide adequate disclaimers on a fundraiser invitation. The complaint alleged further that Worth violated the Act by serving as a prohibited corporate conduit when it collected and forwarded contributions to the Committee. Tom Manion was a candidate in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District.

OUTCOME:

The Commission found reason to believe that Worth & Company, Inc. (“Worth”) violated the Act by making prohibited in-kind contributions to the Manion Committee by providing food and beverages at a fundraising event without pre-payment by the Committee and solicited contributions to individuals outside its restricted class. In a conciliation agreement, Worth agreed to pay a $6,000 civil penalty.

The Commission found no reason to believe Worth collected and forwarded contributions raised at the fundraising event for the Manion Committee.

The Commission, using its prosecutorial discretion, dismissed allegations that the Committee and its treasurer accepted payment and failed to report debt incurred for the fundraising event because the Committee paid for the invoiced expenses.  Likewise, due to the low dollar amount involved, the Commission used its prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the remaining allegations against the Committee related to provision of a disclaimer on a fundraising invitation and the use of the facility.

MUR 5814

RESPONDENTS:

Jack Thomas; Lamutt for Congress and Robert Bruce Lamutt, in his official capacity as treasurer; Robert Bruce Lamutt

COMPLAINANT:

FEC Initiated

SUBJECT:

In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission found that Jack Thomas, campaign manager for Lamutt for Congress, may have violated the Act by commingling and converting campaign funds for personal use. Thomas allegedly transferred campaign money to a bank account he held jointly with his wife, authorized payments to his brother-in-law for expenses unrelated to the campaign, and used the Committee’s bank debit card for cash advances and to purchase items and services unconnected with the campaign.

OUTCOME:

In 2006, the Commission found reason to believe Thomas violated the Act as detailed above. In a conciliation agreement, the Commission agreed that no civil penalty shall be due in light of evidence that the respondent was facing financial hardship. The agreement stipulated that if evidence were uncovered contrary to the stated financial position of the respondent, an $80,000 civil penalty would be due immediately.

Additional issues related to the so called “Millionaires’ Amendment,” which was ruled unconstitutional by a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision, were dismissed.

MUR 6117

RESPONDENTS:

Jacob Turk for Congress and Douglas L. Freeman, in his official capacity as treasurer; and Jo Ann Signs LLC

COMPLAINANT:

Stephen R. Bough

SUBJECT:

The complaint alleged that the Turk Committee and Freeman, as treasurer, violated the Act by accepting and failing to report prohibited in-kind contributions of billboard and outdoor advertisements from Jo Ann Signs LLC. Turk was a candidate in Missouri’s 5th Congressional District.

OUTCOME:

The Commission found no reason to believe the violations occurred because the Committee’s response and its disclosure reports detailed significant general advertising disbursements, which were the subject of the complaint, and there was no specific information suggesting those expenditures were not reported properly.

MUR 6104

RESPONDENTS:

Montagano for Congress, Inc. and Joseph A. Montagano, in his official capacity as treasurer; Michael Montagano; Joseph A. Montagano

COMPLAINANT:

National Republican Congressional Committee

SUBJECT:

The complaint alleged that the Montagano Committee and Joseph Montagano, as treasurer, violated the Act by accepting and failing to report excessive contributions from Joseph Montagano, also the candidate’s father. The complaint contended that the excessive contributions were in the form of house, property and automobile purchases, as well as payments for property taxes and living expenses. Michael Montagano was a candidate in Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District.

OUTCOME:

The Commission dismissed the case using its prosecutorial discretion in light of the modest level of the possible violation. Letters of caution were sent to the respondents, advising them to take steps to ensure their conduct is in compliance with the Act and Commission regulations.

MUR 6085

RESPONDENTS:

Illinois Victory 2008 and Peter Couval as Treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

Louis G. Atsaves

SUBJECT:

The complaint alleged that Illinois Victory 2008 and Couval, in his official capacity as treasurer, failed to itemize staff salary disbursements properly.

OUTCOME:

Although it appears the Committee failed to itemize the salary disbursements adequately, the Commission dismissed the matter in view of the Committee’s prompt corrective action. The Commission sent a letter of caution to the Committee and its treasurer, advising the Committee to take steps to ensure that its conduct is in compliance with the Act and Commission regulations.

MUR 5940

RESPONDENTS:

Ted Poe for Congress and Virgil Poe, in his official capacity as treasurer

COMPLAINANT:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)

SUBJECT:

The complaint alleged that the Poe Committee and Virgil Poe, as treasurer, violated the Act by failing to disclose contributor information of those who contributed in excess of $200 and failed to itemize proceeds from joint fundraising committees. Rep. Ted Poe represents Texas’ 2nd Congressional District.

OUTCOME:

The Commission dismissed the case using its prosecutorial discretion, as the issues raised in the complaint were addressed in the context of the Commission's audit of the Committee.

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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